Log In | Customer Support   
Home Book Travel Destinations Hotels Cruises Air Travel Community Search:  
Search

Search CruisePage

Book a Cruise
 - CruiseServer
 - Search Caribbean
 - Search Alaska
 - Search Europe
 - 888.700.TRIP

Book Online
Cruise
Air
Hotel
Car
Cruising Area:

Departure Date:
Cruise Length:

Price Range:

Cruise Line:

Forums
 >  Cruise Talk
 >  Rail Talk
 >  Air Talk
 >  Destination Talk
 >  Hotel Talk

Buy Stuff

Reviews
 - Ship Reviews
 - Dream Cruise
 - Ship of the Month
 - Reader Reviews
 - Submit a Review
 - Millennium Cruise

Community
 - Photo Gallery
 - Join Cruise Club
 - Cruise News
 - Cruise News Archive
 - Cruise Views
 - Cruise Jobs
 - Special Needs
 - Maritime Q & A
 - Sea Stories

Industry
 - New Ship Guide
 - Former Ships
 - Port Information
 - Inspection Scores
 - Shipyards
 - Ship Cams
 - Freighter Travel
 - Man Overboard List
 - Potpourri

Shopping
 - Shirts & Hats
 - Books
 - Videos
 - Reservations
 - Vacation Specials
 - Web Deals

Contact Us
 - Reservations
 - Mail
 - Feedback
 - Suggest-a-Site
 - About Us


   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - March 18, 2019

Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal 3 Is ‘Go for Launch’
At a space-themed ceremony today, the Canaveral Port Authority and longtime cruise partner Carnival Cruise Line officially broke ground for construction of Port Canaveral’s new Cruise Terminal 3 complex. The new terminal, dubbed the Launch Pad, will be the home of Mardi Gras, the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship, beginning in 2020. Port Authority Commissioners and the Port’s leadership team joined Carnival Cruise Line executives for the ceremonial groundbreaking at the project site as NASA’s “Spaceman” planted a Carnival Cruise Line flag on a simulated lunar landscape.

The event theme, “Go for Launch,” was a nod to the Port’s key role with the U.S. space program and the terminal’s futuristic design, which was inspired by nearby Kennedy Space Center. The $163 million terminal project – the largest in the Port’s 65-year history – is scheduled for completion in May 2020 and will be ready for the arrival of Mardi Gras to her year-round Port Canaveral homeport in October 2020.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a historic milestone for our Port and underscores the long-standing partnership we have with Carnival,” Port CEO Capt. John Murray said. “The trust and confidence we’ve earned with our great cruise partner has been the foundation of success and we are excited for what the future holds. We’re building a great new terminal, for an innovative new ship, and looking forward to welcoming home Mardi Gras.”

Added Carnival President Christine Duffy, “We began our operations from Port Canaveral nearly 30 years ago – coincidentally with our original ship of the same name. We’ve had a great relationship with Port Canaveral during that time and we’re proud, honored and excited that our newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, will sail from the new Terminal 3. We are pleased to be the port’s number one cruise line and Mardi Gras promises to be a spectacular addition to the Space Coast.”

Port Canaveral and Carnival Cruise Line executives held a “pre-launch mission” news conference complete with a mock countdown, then grabbed shovels on the terminal construction site for the ceremonial first dig to officially kick off construction. Participants included Wayne Justice, Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner; Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line; Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO; Micah Loyd, Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman; Jerry Allender, Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner; Rocky Johnson, Vice President, Ivey’s Construction Inc.; and Scott Bakos, Partner with Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc., a Miami firm providing architecture and engineering design work for the project.

“We are proud to be building this state-of-the-art facility and looking forward to providing Carnival’s cruise guests with a first-class guest experience,” Port Commissioner Wayne Justice said. “Building the new cruise terminal, like each of our construction projects at Port Canaveral, is an investment in building our community.”

The contract to build the two-story, 187,000 sq. ft. terminal facility and adjacent six-story parking garage was awarded to Merritt Island, Florida-based Ivey’s Construction. The terminal will feature a high-tech baggage processing facility and a state-of-the-art check-in and security area on its second floor, with kiosks and seating for 1,700 guests. The six-story 692,000 sq. ft. parking garage will accommodate 1,800 vehicles.

Construction of the cruise terminal’s marine facility got underway last year with a contract awarded to Titusville, Florida-based contractor RUSH Marine to remove the existing pier structures at the site and build a new 1,309-foot-long berth for Mardi Gras. Substantial completion of the project is scheduled for December 2019.

Port Canaveral’s Launch Pad will be homeport to Carnival’s largest and most innovative cruise ship, Mardi Gras, which will be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) – part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” platform. Mardi Gras will be the first cruise ship in North America to be powered by this clean fuel technology. Port Canaveral has worked with federal, state and local public safety and regulatory officials to ensure the Port’s safety readiness for the ship’s arrival. Fuel providers will employ widely used and proven safe best practices of a ship-to-ship “bunkering” refueling, which is regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Currently under construction in Meyer Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras will arrive at Port Canaveral mid-October 2020 and will feature BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, 20 passenger decks and six distinctive theme zones of fun, dining and entertainment: Grand Central; the French Quarter with Emeril’s Bistro 1396, the first restaurant at sea created by famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse; La Piazza; Summer Landing; Lido; and the Ultimate Playground.

After a special eight-day cruise to the Caribbean on Oct. 16, 2020, Mardi Gras will commence year-round seven-day cruises on Oct. 24, 2020, alternating weekly to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern voyages will take Mardi Gras to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, while Western sailings will travel to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras.

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Photos of Norwegian Sky’s 2019 Bow-To-Stern Renovation
Norwegian Cruise Line today released photos of the completed refurbishments of Norwegian Sky as part of the Norwegian Edge program, reaffirming the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across the fleet.

Following a three-week dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, Norwegian Sky recently returned to her homeport of Miami showcasing new venues, updated spaces and completely redesigned staterooms and corridors, elevating the experience for guests looking for shorter vacation getaways.

“Last year was an exciting year with the record-breaking launch of Norwegian Bliss, the announcement of Norwegian Joy’s redeployment to the U.S. and the unveiling of four ships which benefited from our comprehensive Norwegian Edge® bow-to-stern refurbishment program,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are continuing the momentum and starting 2019 with the reintroduction of Norwegian Sky. She returned home to Miami unveiling new designs and experiences that showcase our dedication to providing guests with meaningful experiences across our fleet.”

All food and beverage outlets were updated, and eight new venues were introduced to Norwegian Sky. These include the pub-style eatery The Local Bar & Grill; La Cucina for classic Italian fare; Sugarcane Mojito Bar; Topsiders, the poolside bar; late night venues, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge; a full-service Starbucks® licensed store; and new to the Norwegian fleet - Pinnacle Lounge and Sushi Bar, which provides guests with a relaxed yet elevated atmosphere to enjoy original and traditional sushi concepts while taking in the endless views of the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Other upgrades include the complimentary Palace and Crossings Main Dining Rooms, Garden Café and The Great Outdoors; and specialty restaurants Cagney’s and Le Bistro. All bars and lounges on board were also refreshed.

All 1,002 staterooms were upgraded with new televisions and USB outlets, as well as brand new carpet, artwork, furniture, lighting and balcony decking. The ship’s four 835-square-foot Owner’s Suites feature refreshed bathrooms and private hot tubs.

The Atrium, the epicenter of the ship, has been revitalized with an entirely refreshed look including updated flooring, refurbished reception and shore excursion desk areas and the addition of lounge seating. Pool deck enhancements include new flooring and furniture, the installation of additional canopies and an updated beach area.

A year-round resident of PortMiami, Norwegian Sky offers three-and-four-day cruises to the Bahamas, and four-and-five-day cruises to Bahamas and Cuba with an overnight in Havana. She calls to Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island, and is one of two ships in the fleet to offer an all-inclusive experience on select sailings.

Three Holland America Line Ships Set Sail for Canada and New England in 2020
In 2020 Holland America Line's Amsterdam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam will transport guests to the stunning coastlines and historic cities of Canada and New England on more than 40 cruises. Sailing one of the most robust seasons in the industry between April and October, guests can select from among 10 itineraries ranging from six to 14 days.

During the summer months, cruisers will have even more sailings to choose from when Amsterdam joins Zaandam to offer additional Canada & New England Discovery cruises between Boston, Massachusetts, and Montréal, Québec — giving guests more opportunities to explore Maine's spectacular Acadia National Park or Cape Breton's incredible Bird Islands.

"Canada and New England is a spectacular destination for cruising and more travelers are discovering its abundance of charm, deep maritime history, art, architecture and culinary diversity," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "For many, it's a close-to-home destination waiting to be explored, while others come from around the world to experience its uniqueness and culturally rich ports. The growing popularity of the region and attractiveness to all ages is why we're offering three ships on an extended summer and fall sailing season."

Beginning in April, Amsterdam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam sail a diverse collection of six-, seven-, eight-, 10-, 11- and 14-day cruises departing from Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; New York City, New York; and Montréal and Québec City, Québec, in Canada. The cruises will feature calls at some of the region's most iconic destinations, including Canada's Charlottetown, Sydney and Halifax, as well as Bar Harbor, Maine.

On April 21, 2020, Zaandam kicks off the Canada and New England spring season with an 11-day Atlantic Coast cruise. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, the ship will call at Newport; Boston; Bar Harbor; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Québec City, before concluding at Montréal. The Amsterdam will sail a similar itinerary departing May 26, with a port of call in Portland, Maine, and scenic cruising along the Saint Lawrence River.

From May through September 2020, both Amsterdam and Zaandam offer a series of seven-day Canada & New England Discovery cruises between Montréal and Boston, featuring calls at Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Québec City, as well as cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Special six and eight-day itineraries are featured departing Oct. 3 and Oct. 9, respectively.

Zaandam offers a new seven-day Historic Coasts cruise in 2020, as well as a 14-day Atlantic Coast cruise. The Historic Coasts cruise departs Aug. 22 sailing roundtrip from Boston and includes calls at Portland, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax; Sydney; and Bar Harbor. The 14-day Atlantic Coast cruise departs Montréal Oct. 17 and calls at Québec City and Baie-Comeau, Québec; Charlottetown; Sydney; Halifax; Bar Harbor; Boston; New York; and Charleston, South Carolina, before ending at Fort Lauderdale.

In September, Zuiderdam launches the fall season with three 10-day Colors of Canada & New England cruises between New York and Québec City. On Sept. 7 and 27, Zuiderdam will depart New York and call at Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Québec City, where guests will enjoy an overnight stay before disembarking. A similar itinerary is available Sept. 17 departing Québec City, where guests will enjoy an overnight stay on board prior to the cruise departure.

These cruises feature cruising through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Saguenay Fjord, where the jewel-toned hues of the fall foliage present a dazzling display of color.

Zuiderdam sails an 11-day Atlantic Coast cruise departing Québec City Oct. 7, calling at Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport and New York, before concluding at Fort Lauderdale.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Reveals Seven Seas Splendor
In anticipation of the newest cruise ship joining its fleet, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced in January details of the Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor, the largest and most elegant suite ever built on a luxury ship. The lavish Regent Suite sets the tone for all 14 other suite categories on Seven Seas Splendor. Today, Regent reveals additional details of all guest suite categories, further establishing Seven Seas Splendor as the ship that will perfect luxury when she debuts in February 2020. Images are available here.

Luxury is found in intricate details, exquisite finishings and enormous balcony space. More than 46,000 square-feet of Italian marble will adorn Seven Seas Splendor -- more than an acre of marble -- including the marble-detailed bathrooms in each of her 375 guest suites. Nearly 52,000 square-feet of balcony space is found on the all-balcony vessel -- larger than the size of an American football field and averaging 138 square feet of balcony space per suite. Approximately 500 crystal chandeliers will illuminate the ship's interior.

"Perfecting luxury is about obsessing over large and small details," explains Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and CEO Jason Montague. "From specially commissioned one-of-a-kind artwork to visually stimulating touches throughout the ship, each space on Seven Seas Splendor will display finely tailored designs that offer a comfortable and stylish experience for luxury travelers. With an expansive passenger-to-space ratio and an exceptionally low guest-to-crew ratio, Seven Seas Splendor will be one of the world's most spacious, intimate and beautiful ships ever to sail the globe."

Distinctive Suites
The Master, Grand, Splendor and Seven Seas suite categories represent the 32 Distinctive Suites on board Seven Seas Splendor. Guests in Distinctive Suites enjoy personalized butler service, guaranteed dining reservations and customized pillows and bath products, among other amenities. These suites are designed to blend comfort and luxury, focusing on impeccable details, exquisite high-contrast materials and lush jewel-toned accents. The suites are designed by Studio Dado, Tillberg Design, and Total Solution Interiors.

Master Suite. This two-bedroom oasis is styled like an elegant Park Avenue palace, replete with rich woods and highlighted by touches of aubergine. Located at the aft of the ship on decks eight and nine allowing for unobstructed views of the horizon, the four Master Suites measure between 1,895 and 2,108 square-feet and boast an expansive living area, exquisite bar for entertaining, spacious balconies up to 994 square-feet, and two full ornate marble and stone bathrooms.

Grand Suite. The Grand Suite features striking emerald design accents perfected by rich grey, brown, and cream tones. Ranging from 1,277 to 1,836 square-feet, the Grand Suite features an expansive private balcony, two majestic baths, and living areas with rich stone mosaics, exotic woods and curated furniture based on haute couture fashion. Craftsmanship is foremost on display with bespoke detailing, and an upholstered leather wall in an intricate stitch pattern serves as the backdrop for the bedroom. With ample space, the suite features a living room with a wrapped-leather floor-to-ceiling bar -- ideal for entertaining.

Splendor Suite. Ranging in size from 821 to 918 square-feet, the one bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom Splendor Suites are designed with calming hues of cream, grey and brown, and plush furniture. It features a dining table for in-room service, spacious closet, and an elegant marble and stone-detailed bath.

Seven Seas Suite. This sanctuary offers more than 800 square-feet of exquisite space, and exudes a cosmopolitan apartment feel with a soothing color palette complemented by plush furnishings. The suite flows effortlessly from living room to dining area to bedroom, with sliding glass doorways leading to a spacious private balcony. A magnificent marble bathroom sits adjacent to the oversized bedroom and large walk-in closet.

Spacious Suites
The Penthouse, Concierge, Superior, Deluxe Veranda and Veranda suite categories are purposefully designed to maximize ocean views that can be enjoyed from the solace of a large private balcony. Along with the heavenly comfort of Elite Slumber beds, guests enjoy spacious closets, plush bathrobes and slippers, an included mini-bar stocked daily, and many other prime amenities.

Penthouse Suite. Conjuring elegance from floor to ceiling and complete with personalized butler service, the 55 sapphire-inspired Penthouse Suites come in three categories that range up to 642 square-feet, with an entertainment center that separates the living room and bedroom. Sleek sliding glass doorways in both the bedroom and living room lead to an oversized balcony with comfortable outdoor furnishings. Even the smallest of luxury details are included such as lined jewelry drawers to designated spaces for designer handbags. A perfected luxury from Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor's sister ship, can be found in the closets. Penthouse Suites on Seven Seas Splendor will include larger expansive walk-in closets designed with two entries from the bathroom and living room. In addition, bathrooms have been designed for additional storage and counter space.

Concierge Suites. Concierge Suites are highlighted by a soothing color palette of creams and blushes that inspire serenity and comfort. This 464 square-foot suite aboard Seven Seas Splendor comes in two categories and is purposefully designed to maximize ocean views, with the custom-crafted Elite Slumber Beds facing the private balcony, allowing guests front row access to stunning ocean scenery. Skilled master craftsmen adorn headboards with the finest shagreen leather, and furniture is upholstered with the most elegant Italian fabrics. Guests who stay in a Concierge Suite or a higher category suite enjoy a free one-night pre-cruise hotel package.

Superior Suite. Spacious and chic, the 464 square-foot Superior Suite is filled with light and peaceful serenity that comes with expansive ocean views. Its two categories feature a grand balcony, spacious sitting area and residential-like walk-in closet.

Deluxe Veranda and Veranda Suites. The two-category Deluxe Veranda and Veranda suites on Seven Seas Splendor are up to 361 and 307 square feet respectively, placing them among the most spacious entry-level suites at sea. They feature a warm island manor feel and boast curtains that separate the bedroom, with vanity and sitting area outfitted with a plush sofa, a coffee table large enough for in-suite dining, and a large desk space.

Observation Lounge
In addition to suite designs, Regent today announced the interior design of the Observation Lounge on board Seven Seas Splendor. The Observation Lounge, designed by Studio DADO, inspires the feeling of an enchanting English garden. Incorporating a light and airy color palette, the Observation Lounge's centerpiece is a unique and stunning whimsical chandelier comprised of hand-painted porcelain flowers, peonies and roses. Traditional English architectural molding adorn the walls and are colored in neutral hues to create a contemporary, elegant setting. The furniture adds to the tranquil nature of the space through its soft curved forms and lush upholsteries inspired by the fluid forms of flower petals. Specially commissioned art by Gorman Studios incorporates hand-painted English roses and flowers on glass screens to reflect the look of porcelain chandeliers.

Viking Expands European River Fleet With Launch Of Seven New Ships
Viking today welcomed the latest additions to its river fleet, with the naming of seven new river ships during a celebration on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland. Of the seven ships, six are Viking Longships – Viking Einar, Viking Sigrun, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vali – which will be deployed on Viking's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The seventh new ship – Viking Helgrim – was inspired by the Longships design and built specifically for the Douro River, bringing the company's total number of sister ships in Portugal to four.

This launch of new river ships is Viking's latest milestone as the company continues to expand and dominate industry awards. Just two weeks ago, Viking swept Cruise Critic's 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards with 11 First Place Wins – including the new "Best for River Cruises" category – and just last month the company took delivery of its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, which will be named in Oslo on June 6. In addition, Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication's 2018 Readers' Choice Awards, and Travel + Leisure readers named Viking a #1 Ocean Cruise Line and one of the World's Best River Cruise Lines in the 2018 World's Best Awards.

"We began hosting guests on the rivers of Russia 22 years ago, and we have always done things differently. We focus on the destination, and we provide travel experiences that allow our guests to learn, to enrich their lives and to explore the world in comfort. It is 'The Viking Difference' that has made us the leading river cruise line in the world – and has helped river cruising become one of the fastest-growing segments of travel," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "As the leader, it is also important that we recognize those who have helped us achieve success. This year I am especially proud to honor members of the Viking family as godmothers of our newest river ships."

In keeping with a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years, Viking invited seven long-serving employees and important members of the company's family to serve as honorary godmothers of the new ships.

• Leah Talactac, Godmother of Viking Einar

• Natalia Hofmann, Godmother of Viking Helgrim

• Wendy Atkin-Smith, Godmother of Viking Sigrun

• Rikke Semb Pertile, Godmother of Viking Sigyn

• Gisela Rückert, Godmother of Viking Tir

• Linh Banh, Godmother of Viking Ullur

• Minxuan Zhao, Godmother of Viking Vali

The naming event was executed by connecting the new ships via satellite across four European cities. Viking Einar and Viking Sigrun were docked in Basel and named by in-person by their godmothers. The other five ships were "virtually" named by their godmothers: Viking Sigyn and Viking Ullur in Rostock, Germany; Viking Tir and Viking Vali in Brunsbüttel, Germany; and Viking Helgrim in Porto, Portugal. In keeping with another maritime tradition, a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit was broken on the bow of each new ship. Gammel Opland hails from the same county in Norway where Chairman Hagen's mother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as "Mamsen" – was born and was her favorite brand of aquavit. Following the naming event, guests enjoyed dinner at Basel's Fondation Beyeler museum, set amidst the museum's newest and most ambitious exhibition: The Young Picasso. Blue and Rose Periods. Guests were also treated to a performance by Alma Deutscher, the 14-year-old English composer, pianist, violinist, and child prodigy – who is a favorite of Chairman Hagen's.

Virgin Voyages Announces Casting Tour For 2020 Productions On Board Scarlet Lady
Virgin Voyages and their Creative Collective, tasked with curating original and uniquely Virgin entertainment experiences, are launching a worldwide casting tour for the company's inaugural season. Virgin Voyages is seeking best in-class performers and personalities who will bring to life bespoke experiences, created exclusively for the new Adult-by-Design cruise line, launching its first ship – the Scarlet Lady – in April 2020.

In partnership with RWS Entertainment Group, the casting search for outstanding talent to star in the Creative Collective's first-run original programming begins on March 27 in New York City before traveling to Europe, Australia and back to the United States. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin in January 2020. The complete audition tour schedule is:

• March 27-29: New York City

• April 2-5: London

• April 8-9: Berlin

• April 12-13: Sydney

• April 15-16: Melbourne

• April 22-23: Orlando

• April 25-26: Chicago

• April 28-May 1: Las Vegas

"Just like our sister brands in the Virgin family, our diverse crew is what makes us great," said Richard Kilman, Vice President, Entertainment for Virgin Voyages. "We don't just want a performer, we want incredible people to join us and bring their true selves. Our Creative Collective will be attending auditions as well as directing rehearsals and installing our shows onboard Scarlet Lady, so these artists will have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the business."

Virgin Voyages Creative Collective in Entertainment includes The 7 Fingers, Randy Weiner, Ani Taj and Sam Pinkleton, PigPen Theatre Co., Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani, and the SPARK Cooperative. Additionally, in breaking with cruise tradition, Virgin Voyages will replace the traditional cruise director role with a cast of dynamic personalities to headline "Happenings" around the ship, including drag performers, artists/painters, fitness gurus, foodies and more.

The Virgin Voyages Creative Collective and RWS will be casting for the following original shows:

• A soon-to-be-announced production by award-winning producer Randy Weiner (Queen of the Night, The Donkey Show, Sleep No More)

• UNTITLED DANCESHOWPARTYTHING, Sam Pinkleton and Ani Taj's hype music video disguised as an absurdist style dance party

• Phantom Folktales, a collection of song-driven micro plays created by PigPen Theatre Co. that seemingly appear out of thin air throughout the ship, and disappear just as quickly

• Ships in the Night, an emotion-filled contemporary experience telling its story with cutting-edge digital projection, interwoven with the authenticity of the human condition, made possible through collaboration with innovative circus company, The 7 Fingers

• Duel Reality, which examines the age-old tale of Romeo & Juliet with a modern twist featuring acrobatic storytelling, also from The 7 Fingers

• Never Sleep Alone, a participatory show featuring the hysterically funny, straight-talking relationship therapist, Dr. Alex Shiller, by producers Roslyn Hart and Alfredo Guenzani

In line with the company's game-changing approach to life at sea, Virgin Voyages seeks to break down the 4th wall and invite talent to incorporate their own unique personalities and passions to the ship and its programming. This approach extends to how Virgin Voyages treats their artists.

"RWS prides itself on being a company of bold makers and mold breakers, which aligns with the game-changing style of Virgin Voyages," said Ryan Stana, CEO and Founder of RWS Entertainment Group. "We are inspired by the brand's avant-garde approach to entertainment and the RWS vision, passion and our full service, turn key capabilities make aligning with another forward-thinking company a natural fit."

RWS Entertainment Group will serve as the premiere production services partner for the Virgin Voyages Creative Collective, providing a full scope of production services including the global casting tour, rehearsals at their newly renovated and expanded state-of-the-art studios, housing at RWS' apartment complex and onboarding for all artists hired for Virgin Voyages.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 57.35 + 3.46%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 118.30 + 1.21%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.22 + 20.79%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.16 + 1.26%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week's question comes from our...Before they were Stars...file. Before she became famous as one of the original "Love Boats" the Pacific Princess sailed from New York to Bermuda under this name.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What do the "Single turn", "Williamson turn" and "Scharnow turn" all have in common (...besides being types of turns,of course)?

Answer - All three are turns a ship used to conduct possible man overboard rescues.
courtesy of RonR3 at comcast.net


Cruise News - March 11, 2019

Seabourn Names First New Ultra-Luxury Expedition Ship "Seabourn Venture"
Seabourn announced today that it will name its first new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Venture, paying tribute to the remote destinations visited by the brand's highly successful expedition and Ventures by Seabourn excursion programs and the fascinating places yet to be explored in the future.

Seabourn began offering expedition experiences during its first sailing to Antarctica in 2013 led by a highly qualified, world-class expedition team and those itineraries have been offered every season since. The success of the Antarctica program opened the door for similar optional experiences under the name Ventures by Seabourn featuring Zodiacs, kayaks, and guided hikes offered on Seabourn ships in a number of desirable destinations around the world, including Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, South America, and Northern European destinations such as Norway and Greenland.

Seabourn began offering expedition experiences during its first sailing to Antarctica in 2013 led by a highly qualified, world-class expedition team and those itineraries have been offered every season since. The success of the Antarctica program opened the door for similar optional experiences under the name Ventures by Seabourn featuring Zodiacs, kayaks, and guided hikes offered on Seabourn ships in a number of desirable destinations around the world, including Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, South America, and Northern European destinations such as Norway and Greenland.

"The name Seabourn Venture is an exciting step in the process of launching even more immersive voyages designed specifically for the expedition traveler who dares to go beyond the norm in terms of destinations and experiences they seek," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Combined with the team of 26 experts that will bring the expedition experience to life, we are going to draw on our pedigree to deliver breathtaking experiences and I know Seabourn Venture is going to create lifetime memories for the adventurer that wants to go farther, into more remote destinations than they may have ever seen before, in true Seabourn ultra-luxury."

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. Both ships will be designed and built for diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards and will include a plethora of modern hardware and technology that will extend the ships global deployment and capabilities. The new ships, which are being built by T. Mariotti, will be a brand new innovative design, created specifically for the ultra-luxury expedition traveler, and will include many features that have made Seabourn ships so successful. A new and exciting offering will be two custom-built submarines carried onboard, providing an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean's surface. The ships will also be designed to carry a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs that can accommodate all onboard guests at once, which will allow for a truly immersive experience. Each ship will feature 132 luxurious oceanfront veranda suites. More details and full-color renderings of the ship and its interior spaces will be released in the months ahead.

Specific details about itineraries and booking availability will be released in Spring 2019. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.

Both expedition vessels will feature an onboard crew that will include outstanding and well-traveled expedition teams comprised of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. During each sailing, team members regularly interact with guests, providing keen insight to deliver a rich holistic travel experience. These fascinating, accomplished experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit. Their valuable insights are offered both in formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations over meals or at leisure.

Seabourn continues to represent the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world's most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, more than 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

Bam! Emeril Lagasse Spices Up Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras with First-ever Restaurant at Sea
Carnival Cruise Line today announced that it has partnered with world-renowned chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse on his first-ever seagoing restaurant aboard Carnival's newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, setting sail in summer 2020.

Located in the heart of Mardi Gras' French Quarter zone, Emeril's Bistro 1396 will showcase the chef's signature dishes that earned him the reputation as one of New Orleans' most acclaimed and respected chefs.

"Mardi Gras is designed as the ultimate vacation experience, and that extends to the food and beverage offerings," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Emeril Lagasse has brought the uniqueness and fun of New Orleans dining to foodies all over the world, and we're thrilled that he'll now bring that same experience to Carnival. There is no one better suited than Emeril to add a level of authenticity to the Mardi Gras experience that will give our guests another way to Choose Fun."

"I've developed restaurants all over the country, but to create my first restaurant at sea – on a ship named Mardi Gras with its own French Quarter, no less – was an opportunity I simply could not pass up," said Lagasse. "I'm excited to be a part of this brand new ship and bring a taste of the flavors of New Orleans cuisine to the guests sailing on Mardi Gras."

Named after Mardi Gras' hull number at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, the bistro will celebrate New Orleans' rich culture with Creole favorites and daily specials.

The menu will include: oyster and cochon de lait po-boys, muffaletta sandwiches, Emeril's signature barbecue shrimp, fresh seafood ceviche, roasted duck & Andouille sausage gumbo, jambalaya, and complements such as Creole potato salad with diced scallions, and red beans and "jazz-man" rice. Breakfast offerings will feature shrimp and grits and a shrimp Creole omelet. The New Orleans classic Bananas Foster and lemon ice box pie will be available for dessert.

Emeril's Bistro 1396 will take center stage in Mardi Gras' French Quarter, one of the ship's six themed zones where guests will find fun, memorable ways to create their own personalized vacations. The French Quarter will capture the festive spirit of Louisiana with food, cocktails and, of course, live jazz.

Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in Oct. 2020.

Princess Cruises Introduces La Mer Restaurant Onboard Sky Princess
Marking the first time in the cruise line's history, Princess Cruises will introduce a new French restaurant to North American guests. The debut of La Mer by Three-Michelin Star Chef, Emmanuel Renaut, onboard its next new cruise ship Sky Princess, will arrive in Ft. Lauderdale in December 2019 for an inaugural season of Caribbean cruises.

Chef Renaut is owner and executive chef of the Flocons de Sel restaurant, located in the French Alps village of Megève. Flocons de Sel was awarded a third Michelin star in 2012, having earned its first in 2004 and a second in 2006. Before establishing the restaurant in 1998, Renaut worked in restaurants including Claridge's, Hotel de Crillon and Auberge de l'Eridan. He also holds the prestigious title "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" (MOF) which translates to One of the Best Craftsmen of France.

La Mer will offer casual, French bistro-style dining with a modern twist inspired by the flavors and feeling of the French Alps and contrasts from the ocean. The specialty restaurant will be located in the lively Sky Princess atrium. The restaurant first debuted onboard Majestic Princess in 2017 to rave reviews from international cruisers while the ship was based in China. A La Mer video with restaurant and menu-fare visuals can be viewed here: www.princess.com/lamer

"It's been an honor to collaborate with Chef Renaut again to develop a fresh and new menu for La Mer on Sky Princess and showcase his authentically crafted French dishes for the first time to our North American guests," said Rai Caluori, executive vice president of guest experience and product development at Princess Cruises. "Chef Renaut's culinary artistry and passion to deliver an unforgettable French dining experience at La Mer will be savored by each Sky Princess guest who delights in his exquisite fresh dishes."

A sampling of Sky Princess La Mer menu offerings include:

Filet de Boeuf Poelé, Compotée d' Ognons Doux, Jus au Vin Rouge, Frites
Beef filet mignon, sweet onions sauté, red wine jus, hand cut fries
Boasting Chef Renaut's flair on classic French dishes, a tender filet mignon cooked to perfection and served alongside hand-cut frites is a classic pairing that never ceases to satisfy every craving.

Quenelles de Vivaneau et St. Jacques, Salpicon de Homard et Jus des Carcasses
Red snapper & scallop mousseline, lobster morsels and lemon grass lobster sauce
Chef Renaut was inspired to bring this dish back to its origins by adding lobster morsels, as it was usually always served with crawfish tails. Chef Renaut placed his own twist and replaced the crawfish with tender lobster.

Mont Blanc ''Marron-Myrtilles"
Sweet chestnut, blueberry gel, vanilla cream bavarois
Mont Blanc is a chestnut, classic French dessert and was inspired by the French Alps, the highest peak in Europe, a majestic view Chef Renaut enjoys every day from the outside deck of Flocons de Sel in Megève, France.

"I'm delighted to introduce La Mer to more Princess Cruises guests aboard Sky Princess," said Chef Renaut. "The new La Mer dishes I've designed for Sky Princess are inspired to satisfy every palate by bringing retro French classics and blending favorite ingredients with fresh and unique touches to make each dish memorable."

La Mer will carry a cover charge of $35 per person. This specialty restaurant will also debut onboard the cruise line's next new ship, Enchanted Princess, in summer 2020.

The 143,700-ton, 3,660-guest Sky Princess is the fourth Royal-class ship for Princess Cruises and will include the best of the stunning features found on Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships' designs.

Carnival Freedom Undergoes Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock
Carnival Freedom has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation added a variety of exciting experiences, including an expansive new WaterWorks aqua park, enhanced dining options such as a re-branded Deli and Bonsai Sushi Express, expanded retail spaces, a new miniature golf course and more.

Part of the line’s industry-leading $2 billion ship enhancement program that has added popular Fun Ship 2.0 innovations across the fleet, the updated spaces were added during a three-week dry dock that took place in Freeport, The Bahamas. The new and enhanced experiences include:

• WaterWorks: Featuring a 203-foot-long AquaTunnel slide and Carnival’s signature 212-foot-long Twister slide along with a 75-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket and SplashZone area for kids.

• Bonsai Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual spot, featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

• Expanded Retail Spaces: a mall-style shopping area lined with retail outlets offering fine jewelry, watches, fragrances, and more along with the line’s own branded spaces including the all-new Carnival Adventures shop. The new shop offers everything guests need to maximize their fun on board and ashore, from snorkel gear and swim fins to sunscreen and waterproof backpacks.

• Mini-Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 11, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

• Re-Branded Deli: Located on Deck 9, the newly expanded Deli offers a tantalizing menu of piled-high sandwiches, paninis and traditional sides.

These complement the wide array of popular experiences on board Carnival Freedom, including Guy’s Burger Joint created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, and BlueIguana Cantina, along with favorites like a classic American steakhouse, Punchliner Comedy Club, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.

Family-friendly options include Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that includes the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in The Hat and Friends and an all-ages reading venue called Dr. Seuss Bookville, along with fun supervised programming for kids ages 2-17.

Following the dry dock, Carnival Freedom resumed its year-round schedule of six- and seven-day Caribbean cruises from Galveston that visit top destinations in Jamaica, Mexico, Belize and Grand Cayman.

Royal Caribbean International Announces Winter Caribbean Itineraries
- Royal Caribbean International is creating more ways to ditch the cold for tropical escapes in the 2020-21 winter season. The global cruise line is introducing a combination of diverse offerings throughout North America and the Caribbean, from new ship pairings in major homeports across Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico to a more diverse range of itinerary lengths and popular destinations.

Big news for the Lone Star state— Adventure of the Seas will call Texas home for the first time in 2020, becoming the largest ship sailing short getaways from Galveston. Touting "only-on-Royal" favorites, including Splashaway Bay and the Perfect Storm waterslides, guests sailing on Adventure can make the most of their 4- and 5-night vacations while visiting Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Adventure of the Seas will join Liberty of the Seas, which will be sailing 7-night Caribbean cruises year-round from Galveston (announced in Dec. 2018).

Enchantment of the Seas will sail south for the winter to homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the first time, following her summer season in Galveston. Sailing 7-night itineraries from the clear waters of San Juan, Enchantment will open the doors to the awe-inspiring islands of the Southern Caribbean, from the pink sandy beaches of Barbados to the lush tropical mountains of Dominica. Known for its passionate and welcoming spirit, San Juan will continue to be the year-round homeport for Freedom of the Seas, which will be newly reimagined in March 2020 as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization program.

Following her multimillion-dollar transformation and summer season in Europe, the amplified Explorer of the Seas will return to Miami with elevated nightlife, exhilarating activities and updated entertainment for all. Explorer will bring the far-flung islands of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba, as well as Royal Caribbean's private destination in Labadee, Haiti, within reach on 5- and 9-night cruises from Miami. Select 5-night sailings will visit Royal Caribbean's highly anticipated private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, the unparalleled family vacation destination for thrill and chill. The first in the cruise line's Perfect Day Island Collection of destinations around the world, Perfect Day at CocoCay ups the ante on private destination experiences by delivering unmatched adventures and amenities, including Thrill Waterpark with 13 jaw-dropping slides, like Daredevil's Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America; Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool; the Caribbean's largest wave pool; Up, Up and Away, the helium balloon that floats up to 450 feet in the air; and Chill Island for some beach R&R.

Independence of the Seas will return to Fort Lauderdale in November 2020, sailing 4- and 5-night short getaways to the Western Caribbean and Nassau, The Bahamas. The amped-up ship will also offer select sailings to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Whether relaxing on the picturesque Bahamian beach at Royal Caribbean's highly anticipated private destination or climbing the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, guests on Independence will relish in adventure-packed, memory-making vacations. Modernized from bow to stern in 2018, Independence will be one of six Royal Amplified ships homeporting on Florida's east coast in 2020.

Vision of the Seas will be offering 10- and 11-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale to the Southern Caribbean. The glass-encased ship will call on dream destinations across the Caribbean, reaching picturesque islands like St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Thomas, San Juan, Antigua and St. Maarten on the 10-night itineraries, while the 11-night sailings will include an overnight stay in Oranjestad, Aruba, a destination hot spot known for world-famous underwater diving locations and wind-sculpted desert landscapes.

Rhapsody of the Seas returns to her longtime homeport of Tampa in 2020 to embark on new adventures. Globetrotters can experience the Panama Canal's intricate waterway system and arrive to the treasured UNESCO World Heritage city of Colon and the ruins of the San Lorenzo castle, all in one 11-night expedition. Rhapsody's regular 7-night itineraries will call on coveted Caribbean destinations, including Grand Cayman, Belize and Mexico. Also returning to her homeport in Tampa, Brilliance of the Seas will join Rhapsody for the season, continuing a mix of 4- and 5-night sailings to the Western Caribbean, perfect for short getaways and first-time cruise vacationers.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 55.43 - 2.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.88 - 0.68%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.01 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.46 + 1.58%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What do the "Single turn", "Williamson turn" and "Scharnow turn" all have in common (...besides being types of turns,of course)?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which commercial steamship company handled the passenger and cargo operations for the N/S SAVANNAH, America's only nuclear powered merchant vessel?

Answer - The initial commercial operator, in 1962, of NS Savannah was States Marine Line. In 1963 operation was transferred to American Export Lines, subsequently American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines.
courtesy of Peter Pinner UK


Cruise News - March 4, 2019

MSC Bellissima Officially Named In Southampton
On Saturday, March 2, MSC Cruises officially welcomed the latest addition to the Company's modern fleet - MSC Bellissima. The Company's new flagship was named in a glamourous and traditional maritime Naming Ceremony in the port of Southampton. A host of stars, VIPs, key travel partners and international media attended the event as well as top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group's founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families. MSC Cruises' Godmother Sophia Loren officially named her 14th ship, which is fitting since the glamourous Hollywood legend is renowned for her style and elegance.

MSC Cruises also announced a new partnership with one of the finest chefs in the world, Raymond Blanc, OBE. The two-Michelin-starred chef has had a profound influence on Britain's culinary landscape and to kick-off the relationship, VIP guests at the Naming Ceremony were able to enjoy an exquisite menu that chef Blanc has designed for the Yacht Club Gala Dinner. This marked the start of a new collaboration with MSC Cruises and the celebrated chef who will be creating a dish for the Elegant Dinner menu.

Raymond Blanc commented, "I am truly looking forward to collaborating with MSC Cruises on some exciting projects, including the development of one of my signature dishes for the Elegant Dinner menu. I believe we have a shared passion for the guest experience, and together we will create some truly memorable moments for diners on board."

Hosting the evening's celebrations was English TV presenter and star of ITV, Holly Willoughby. Additionally, world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli and Matteo Bocelli sang a duet to begin the event. The Bocelli family have a long-standing relationship with MSC Cruises dating back over 10 years when Andrea first performed for the Naming Ceremony of MSC Poesia in Dover, UK. Guests also experienced a very special performance from Cirque du Soleil at Sea. This performance marked the first time that the world-leader in live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil, has performed at the launch of a ship.

MSC Bellissima is the second Meraviglia class ship to come into service, designed as the ship for all seasons and rich in guest features, including the very latest guest-centric technology with the introduction of the world's first virtual personal cruise assistant, ZOE. Another key highlight is the two new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, exclusive to MSC Cruises' guests. SYMA – Sail beyond Imagination takes you on the epic journey of a young sailor, brimming with imagination. VARÉLIA – Love in Full Colour puts a futuristic twist on a traditional medieval tale.

Other key highlights include:

• With 12 dining venues and more than 20 bars and lounges, guests are spoiled for choice including a new French specialty restaurant L'Atelier Bistrot. The ship also features acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury's Chocolate & Café, dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts — a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth

• An award-winning family offering with kids' activities and services from partners LEGO and Chicco with a dedicated family deck area

• The MSC Yacht Club with luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service round-the-clock

• The longest LED Sky Screen at Sea at 262 ft. long encompassing a stunning 315 ft. long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed to be the social hub of the ship

• Comfortable and innovative accommodations to meet every need demonstrating the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building and with 10 different types of staterooms to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

MSC Bellissima is fitted with a large number of environmental features and innovative technology to reduce her environmental footprint. Just like her sister ship MSC Meraviglia, she is equipped with, amongst others: an exhaust gas cleaning system for cleaner emissions; an advanced wastewater treatment system; smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to recover heat from machinery spaces; and LED lighting and smart devices to significantly save energy. This is all part of MSC Cruises commitment to provide guests with the best vacation experiences at sea in a sustainable way.

MSC Bellissima will spend her inaugural season in the Mediterranean offering 7-night cruises to some of the region's most popular ports before moving to the Emirates for Winter 2019/2020. Following that she will be deployed in Asia in 2020.

Navigator Of The Seas Sails Into Miami With $115 Million New Look
Royal Caribbean International's newly amplified Navigator of the Seas heats things up in Miami as she arrived into her new year-round home with $115 million of next-level features. The transformed 3,386-guest ship debuts bold, new adventures and Royal Caribbean favorites for all ages, like The Blaster, the longest aqua coaster at sea; Riptide, the industry's only head-first mat racer waterslide; a reimagined poolscape infused with Caribbean vibes; To Dry For, the first standalone blow-dry bar at sea; and elevated dining and nightlife. Beginning Friday, March 1, Navigator will sail 5- and 9-night Caribbean itineraries through May 2019. The action-packed ship will then set course for The Bahamas with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday cruises, including visits to the cruise line's highly anticipated private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the unparalleled thrill and chill destination.

Navigating New Features:

• The Blaster – the cruise line's first aqua coaster and the longest waterslide at sea propels thrill seekers through more than 800 feet of dips, drops and straightaways that extend over the side of the ship

• Riptide – the industry's only headfirst mat racer waterslide, complete with an exhilarating finish through a translucent tube for endless ocean views

• To Dry For – the first standalone blow-dry bar at sea, offering blowouts, hairstyling and other services, plus a selection of wines and champagnes

• Reimagined Poolscape – this Caribbean resort-style deck touts more pool for everyone – even a Splash Pad for tots – and tasty dining options Johnny Rockets Express and Mexican "street fare" at El Loco Fresh

• The Lime and Coconut – a three-level signature bar that offers a variety of libations, a "rooftop" deck for a bird's eye view and live music

"We have really dialed up the adventure and Caribbean vibes in ways that will make Navigator of the Seas the ultimate getaway to take from Miami," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Independence and Mariner of the Seas, the first two modernized ships in our Royal Amplified program, have quickly become standout hits, and Navigator builds on this momentum with a combination of new, exciting features and signature Royal Caribbean offerings that will surprise and delight guests cruising with us for the first time and those who have vacationed with us before."

Delivering a Lineup of Royal Caribbean Favorites:

• Hooked Seafood – the casual eatery serving up New England-inspired dishes

• The Bamboo Room – a Polynesian-themed watering hole with kitschy-cool cocktails

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – where families can enjoy gameday classics, 50 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, classic arcade hits and a new Owner's Box VIP room

• Jamie's Italian – home to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's rustic Italian recipes

• Battle for Planet Z – an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag battle for the last planet in the galaxy

• Royal Escape Room: The Observatorium – a challenge for teams of families, friends or fellow travelers to solve mind-bending puzzles before time runs out

• FlowRider surf simulator, the rock-climbing wall, and a redesigned Adventure Ocean for the youngest of the family as well as new dedicated teen spaces

Navigator of the Seas is the third ship to be reimagined as part of the Royal Amplified modernization program, an investment of more than $1 billion in the cruise line's award-winning fleet. The effort spans 10 ships in four years and touches every facet of the guest experience with the introduction of a wide range of new thrills and Royal Caribbean staples meant to appeal to every generation.

Beginning May 2019, each sailing on board Navigator of the Seas will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the cruise line's Perfect Day Island Collection of destinations around the world. Royal Caribbean's private island will be transformed with $250 million to deliver unmatched adventures and amenities, including Thrill Waterpark with 13 jaw-dropping slides, like Daredevil's Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America; Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean's largest freshwater pool; the Caribbean's largest wave pool; Up, Up and Away, the helium balloon that floats up to 450 feet in the air; and Chill Island for some beach R&R.

Costa Venezia Comes Into Service
Yesterday, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, and of the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport of Italy, Edoardo Rixi, Costa Cruises officially took delivery of Costa Venezia, its first ship designed specifically to offer the best of Italy to the Chinese market.

Costa Venezia is part of an expansion plan that includes a total of seven ships being delivered to the Costa Group by 2023.

With a gross tonnage of 135,500 tons, 323 meters in length and a capacity for over 5,200 guests, Costa Venezia will be the largest ship introduced by Costa Cruises to the Chinese market, where the Italian company was the first to start operating in 2006 and is currently the leader. It will offer a series of unprecedented innovations designed specifically for Chinese customers, introducing guests to Italian culture, lifestyle and excellence, starting from the interiors, which are inspired by the city of Venice.

As Michael Thamm, group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, explains: "Costa Venezia will help us to further develop the cruise market in China, which has a great unexplored potential. Suffice it to say that, currently, 2.5 million Chinese people a year choose to go on a cruise vacation, which is less than 2 percent of the total number of Chinese people who travel abroad. Moreover, Costa Venezia further strengthens Costa Cruises' bond with Italy: it is a ship built in Italy, by an Italian shipyard, which flies the Italian flag and which will make Chinese guests experience unforgettable Italian experiences."

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "For us, Costa Venezia is the emblem of what we are able to do and where we intend to arrive, but she is also the product of the historical partnership with Carnival Corporation and Costa Cruises, which enhances the tradition of Italian manufacturing and know-how, projecting them toward other borders." Bono continued: "As a consolidated industry leader, our contribution to the cruise industry, considering the units we delivered and those we have on order, will count on 143 ships in the coming years, with one cruise passenger in three sailing on our jewels. As soon as Costa Venezia will enter into service in China, showing what we are able to realize in a still unexplored market, I am sure that a new chapter will be opened in the successful history of Fincantieri."

Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, stated: "The delivery of Costa Venezia is a further step in the growth of a strong and sustainable cruise industry in China, which someday we believe will be the largest cruise market in the world. The growth of the Chinese cruise industry will continue to open the world to millions of Chinese travelers and bring ever-increasing prosperity to its people."

"As the first ship built specifically for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia marks the start of a new era, not only for Costa Cruises and Fincantieri but also for the Chinese cruise industry as a whole," says Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. "From conception to delivery, everything about Costa Venezia has been designed having the Chinese customer in mind. Costa Venezia will continue to offer the authentic Italian experience that is a hallmark of Costa Cruises, but with further innovations that have never been seen before and which are designed to meet the needs of the local market even better."

On board Costa Venezia, Chinese guests will experience the uniqueness of Venetian and Italian culture. The ship's theater is inspired by the Venetian La Fenice theater; the main atrium is reminiscent of St. Mark's Square, while the main restaurants recall the traditional architecture of Venetian alleys and squares. Actual gondolas, made by the Squero di San Trovaso artisans, can also be found on board. Guests can also savor the delicacies of Italian cuisine, shop in the onboard shops with many famous "Made in Italy" brands and enjoy the internationally renowned Italian entertainment, with a masked ball that will recreate the magical atmosphere of the famous Carnival of Venice. They will also feel at home with a wide choice of Chinese food offered, Chinese-style karaoke, many parties including the "Golden Party," full of surprises and gifts to be won every 10 minutes.

Costa Venezia's naming ceremony is planned for today, March 1, in Trieste, with a spectacular air show by Frecce Tricolori acrobatic team and a firework display involving the whole city. The vernissage cruise will depart from Trieste March 3, bound for Greece and Croatia. On March 8, the ship will be back in Trieste for the start of its inaugural cruise: an exceptional, 53-day trip following the tracks of Marco Polo through the Mediterranean to the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East before docking in Tokyo. The vernissage and inaugural cruises will be the only departures available to European and American guests wishing to enjoy a vacation on the new ship. From May 18, 2019, Costa Venezia will be dedicated exclusively to Chinese guests, offering cruises in Asia departing from Shanghai.

After Costa Venezia, the group's next ship to come into service, in October 2019, will be Costa Smeralda, the new Costa Cruises flagship and the first ship for the world market to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). A second ship designed exclusively for the Chinese market, a sister ship to Costa Venezia, is currently under construction by Fincantieri in Marghera and is expected to be delivered in 2020.

Carnival Glory Launches Year-Round Service from New Orleans
Carnival Glory has repositioned to New Orleans to offer a series of four- and five-day cruises to Mexico. The ship will replace Carnival Triumph which is en route to Cadiz, Spain, to undergo a $200 million renovation and emerge as the renamed Carnival Sunrise.

Beginning in May, Carnival Glory will assume the year-round seven-day schedule from New Orleans currently operated by Carnival Dream. Carnival Dream will reposition to Galveston becoming the newest and largest ship to offer short cruises from the port.

Carnival Glory’s week-long cruises from New Orleans will visit top destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida. The western Caribbean route will feature popular islands such as Cozumel, Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Montego Bay, Belize and Grand Cayman while Bahamas/Florida voyages include Nassau, Freeport, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Key West.

Carnival Glory will also offer a special, one-time eight-day Caribbean sailing in May as well as two 14-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal cruises in February and November 2020.

Carnival Glory is a terrific new addition to the Louisiana market with such onboard experiences as a new WaterWorks aqua park, dining options like a classic American steakhouse and Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star and longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, Punchliner Comedy Club and fun, supervised programming for kids in three age groups.

The deployment of Carnival Glory to New Orleans builds upon Carnival’s leadership position at the port with two year-round ships carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually – the most of any cruise operator.

Cunard Unveils 2021 Voyage Program
Cunard today unveiled their Oceans of Discovery voyage program for November 2020 through May 2021, featuring Full World Voyages and in-depth itineraries in Japan and Australia. The Cunard fleet, including Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and flagship liner Queen Mary 2, will call at 94 destinations in 38 different countries, including four exciting maiden calls in Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Cunard pioneered the concept of world cruising in 1922 and has since undertaken more world voyages than any other passenger line. In 2021, Cunard will continue the tradition of world cruising by operating Full World Voyages on two ships: Queen Mary 2 will offer the classic East-West voyage to Australia and Asia, Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean; Queen Victoria will travel the globe with a westbound circumnavigation via the Panama Canal. Queen Elizabeth will carry out exotic voyages with regionally-focused itineraries in Australia and Japan.

Whether traveling on a two-night short break or a full 113-night world voyage, the Cunard 2021 program will offer a mix of the most celebrated cities along with smaller, off-the-beaten-path but equally charming destinations. Itineraries have been thoughtfully created to offer longer, more enriching days in port as well as plenty of time at sea to enjoy everything Cunard ships have to offer.

"Now is a perfect time to book your winter 2020-2021 journeys on Cunard," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "We offer our legendary westbound circumnavigation World Cruise on Queen Victoria, the classic East-West voyage on Queen Mary 2, and exotic sailings on Queen Elizabeth. By far, these voyages represent incredible opportunities to see the world in style, only on Cunard."

Cunard World Club members will be able to book exclusively beginning on March 12, 2019, and booking will open for the public on March 13, 2019.

Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2 will undertake her classic East-West World Voyage in 2021 to Australia and Asia, which includes the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Southern Africa. The World Cruise can be taken as a roundtrip from either New York (113 nights) or London (99 nights). Shorter voyage options range in length from two to 64 nights and can be combined in many ways allowing guests to create the ideal travel experience to the cities of their choice.

The beginning of the voyage is routed via South Africa and the Indian Ocean to Australia. From there, Queen Mary 2 will head north to Hong Kong and on to Singapore via Vietnam. She will then travel through the Malacca Straights across the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. The final leg of the voyage is the return to London from Dubai, which is routed via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea. The voyage includes many overnight stays allowing guests to be immersed in the various cultures of these destinations.

Queen Mary 2's 2021 deployment features:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard

• 45 voyage combinations ranging from three to 113 nights

• Over 47,000 nautical miles

• 37 ports in 22 countries

• Overnight stays in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, and a double overnight in Cape Town

• Transit of the Suez Canal

• 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria's World Voyage will be a Westbound circumnavigation through the Panama Canal which can be taken as a roundtrip from either Hamburg (112 nights) or London (108 nights), or a one-way voyage starting in Fort Lauderdale and ending in London (97 nights). Her voyage will begin by crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Florida via Bermuda, followed by a trans-Panama segment. Queen Victoria will then cross the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii and Samoa to New Zealand and from there she will call in Sydney, Australia's Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef before traveling to Hong Kong via Darwin and Vietnam. Following her Asia visit, she will return to London via Singapore, the Indian Ocean and South Africa.

Queen Victoria's 2021 deployment features:

• The World Voyage, by Cunard

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard

• 38 voyage combinations ranging from two to 112 nights

• Over 41,000 nautical miles

• 39 ports in 24 countries

• Overnight stays in San Francisco, Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cape Town

• Scenic cruising through the Panama Canal

• 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Elizabeth
In December 2020 and early 2021, Queen Elizabeth will offer a series of roundtrip voyages from international ports with deeper, richer and more regionally-focused itineraries. In between these deployments will be exotic grand voyages that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure in travel lovers across the world.

Queen Elizabeth will operate four roundtrip voyages from Melbourne and four from Sydney, covering the popular regions of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. New in 2021 is a pair of "open-jaw" New Zealand voyages, traveling from Sydney to Auckland and the reverse.

At the end of the Australian season in March, Queen Elizabeth will travel north to Japan via Southeast Asia. The voyage will include a variety of exciting destinations such as Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Queen Elizabeth's Japan deployment, mid-April to mid-May 2021, will consist of four roundtrip voyages out of Tokyo.

• Two nine-night voyages will highlight the multi-faceted nature and deep cultural roots of Japan's main islands of Honshu and Kyushu and are timed to coincide with the spectacular spring blooms across the region.

• The third roundtrip voyage, a seven-night sailing, will coincide with Golden Week, a celebratory time which features several Japanese holidays.

• The fourth roundtrip voyage will be a new itinerary, traveling to the Okinawa archipelago and Taiwan, setting a contrast to the mountainous regions of Northern Japan. This voyage will feature a maiden call to the island of Miyakojima and is scheduled to arrive in the archipelago's tropical islands at the start of their peak season.

Queen Elizabeth's 2021 deployment features:

• Grand Voyages, by Cunard and Regions, by Cunard.

• 82 voyage combinations ranging from two to 39 nights

• Over 49,000 nautical miles

• 46 ports in 10 countries

• Maiden calls in Lyttleton and New Plymouth, New Zealand; Hualien, Taiwan; and Miyakojima, Japan

• Overnight stays in Auckland, Wellington, Hobart, Singapore and Hong Kong

• Scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

• 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

In addition to Cunard's 2021 winter program, Cunard is happy to announce additional voyages on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. These include Queen Mary 2's signature seven-night Transatlantic Crossings departing December 8 and 15, 2020, January 3 and April 19, 2021; and a 12-night Caribbean roundtrip sailing out of New York departing December 22, 2020. In both January and April 2021, Queen Victoria will offer two- and four-night Short Break voyages from Southampton and Hamburg.

Disney Cruise Line Returns To Greece In Summer 2020
In summer 2020, Disney Cruise Line will embark on a variety of itineraries around the world, including a long-awaited return to Greece and the addition of five first-time ports of call in Europe. Along with an expanded European season aboard the Disney Magic, adventures will continue across the fleet with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and Bahamas.

After a five-year hiatus, the Disney Magic will return to Greece in summer 2020 as part of three special Mediterranean voyages departing from Rome. During one 12-night and two nine-night cruises, guests can marvel at the beautiful landscapes and archeological wonders of destinations like Piraeus, the gateway to Athens; Katakolon, near ancient Olympia; and the islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Crete.

Each of these unique Mediterranean itineraries combines a selection of stops in Greece with visits to other notable cities in the region. Two of the sailings include a new port of call in Messina, Italy, where guests can visit landmarks in Sicily such as Mount Etna, the highest and most active volcano in Europe, or the Piazza del Duomo, the city's historic center. The third features a return to the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the first time in five years.

Additional new ports of call in Europe include Gdynia, Poland; Nordfjordeid, Norway; Plymouth, England; and Zeebrugge, Belgium. This new collection of destinations is part of the Disney Magic's grand tour of Europe in the summer of 2020, which begins with sailings through the Mediterranean and Greek Isles before heading to northern Europe in late summer for cruises to the Baltic, British Isles and Norwegian fjords.

In 2020, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of breathtaking natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. These seven-night itineraries depart from Vancouver, Canada, with visits to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Dawes Glacier. Each sailing features fun and adventure both in port and on the ship, from stunning scenery and one-of-a-kind Port Adventures in each destination to special touches that bring the splendor and spirit of Alaska to life onboard.

In addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida, the Disney Fantasy will embark on a variety of itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas throughout the summer of 2020. These include five- and nine-night Caribbean sailings, along with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, three of which feature two stops at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

The Disney Dream will provide even more opportunities for guests to visit Castaway Cay in the summer of 2020 with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, including a series of sailings with two calls on the private island paradise.

Each sailing aboard the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream allows guests to experience the magic of Disney entertainment, which includes themed dining spaces, Broadway-style shows and more, while also immersing them in the charming island cultures of tropical destinations throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Princess Cruises Shares Dates For Six Ships Adding MedallionNet
Princess Cruises announced that MedallionNet, the best WiFi at sea, will soon be enjoyed by guests sailing on more than half of its fleet.

To meet surging demand from guests, Princess will continue its swift expansion of MedallionNet to add the service on additional ships by the end of 2019. MedallionNet, offering fast, affordable, reliable and unlimited internet service, expands to Coral Princess (April 5) and Island Princess (May 15) in time for the Alaska season, Crown Princess (June 30) and Emerald Princess (August 3) for sailings during Europe this summer and on Golden Princess (December 20) and Sky Princess (October 12) this fall. MedallionNet is currently available on Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Ruby Princess.

"Guests and crew absolutely love MedallionNet. We're expanding it across the fleet as quickly as we can so that in the very near future anyone who sails with us will experience the best WiFi at sea," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "While many sail with us to disconnect from their digital life, we realize that offering land-like connectivity from anywhere on the ship is something guests value so that they have the option to stream movies, music, sports or video chat and share their amazing vacation experience as much or as little as they'd like."

The cruise line also announced the formal launch dates for the Princess MedallionClass experience on its next three ships. The hassle-free and personalized voyages enabled by the OceanMedallionTM will launch on Royal Princess on April 13, followed by Crown Princess on July 24 and will be featured on Sky Princess beginning October 12, when the newest ship in the Princess fleet departs the shipyard as the first to be built from the ground up with the Ocean Guest Experience Platform.

Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion is complimentary for all guests and features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.56 - 3.43%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.68 - 2.39%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.01 - 16.53%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.60 - 2.40%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which commercial steamship company handled the passenger and cargo operations for the N/S SAVANNAH, America's only nuclear powered merchant vessel?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which soon-to-be infamous figure departed Rotterdam for New York on June 4, 1962 on board Holland America's Maasdam?

Answer - The infamous figure who left Rotterdam for New York on June 4, 1962 on board the Maasdam was Lee Harvey Oswald?
courtesy of Jeff Anderson, Mclean, Virginia


Cruise News - February 25, 2019

MSC Cruises Takes Delivery Of MSC Bellissima
MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company, has taken delivery of MSC Bellissima from Chantiers de l’Atlantique, a world leader in cruise ship construction. With three Meraviglia generation ships under simultaneous construction at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, the two parties marked a double celebration today, with MSC Virtuosa’s Coin Ceremony.

MSC Bellissima’s Delivery Ceremony took place in the presence of Gianluigi Aponte, Founder and Executive Chairman, MSC Group. Also present were Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, as well as other regional and local authorities and dignitaries.

Vago said, “Today’s delivery marks another chapter in the story of our partnership with Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Together we have already brought to life 14 highly-innovative cruise ships, paving the way for our Company’s initial growth. Many more will be built together over the coming years to further deepen the reach of our fleet. Furthermore, MSC Bellissima’s elegance and beauty, as well as focus on the best and latest maritime and environmental technology at sea, bear testament to our restless pursuit for innovation.”

Castaing said, “This new outstanding ship is another evidence of the quality of the long-term partnership we have established between MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique during these last twenty years. We bring each time all our expertise and innovation capability to deserve the confidence of our customers: this is a real success story for our two companies.”

As other ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet, MSC Bellissima pushes the boundaries of ship building and design. Bearing testament to the Company’s commitment to protect the environment, she has been equipped with some of the latest environmental technologies available. These include, amongst others, a cutting-edge exhaust gas cleaning system, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, systems for the prevention of oil discharge from machinery spaces, a ballast water treatment system, and various energy-saving improvements – from heat recovery systems to LED lighting.

MSC Bellissima is also equipped with cutting-edge guest technology. She is the first MSC Cruises ship to feature ZOE, the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, which has been added to MSC for Me. The voice-enabled virtual personal assistant will be found in every cabin and can answer hundreds of questions about the cruise.

With today’s delivery, MSC Bellissima has become the fourth ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet in less than two years. As part of MSC Cruises’ unprecedented new builds programme, another 13 next-generation cruise ships are due to join its fleet by 2027. These include four World Class mega cruise ships capable of welcoming nearly 7,000 guests as well as four smaller ships that will serve the ultra-luxury segment.

MSC Bellissima is the second Meraviglia Class ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet. As MSC Meraviglia, she is the ship for all seasons, with plenty of outdoor and indoor public spaces. With a length of just 315 metres, she has been designed to be able to access most of the world’s cruise ports.

This evening MSC Bellissima will set sail towards Southampton, UK, where her Naming Ceremony is due to be held on March 2, 2019. On March 4, 2019 she will depart on her maiden voyage, which will take her to Genoa, Italy, where she will spend her inaugural season, offering Western Mediterranean cruises. In November 2019, she will reposition to the Gulf, providing weekly sailings out of Dubai. In spring 2020 she will be deployed to Asia.

Earlier, MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique held MSC Virtuosa’s Coin Ceremony, which takes place at the early stages of construction of a newbuild, when the keel is laid. Due to be delivered in November 2020, she will become the fourth Meraviglia Class ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet and the second of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, a larger and enriched version of the Meraviglia prototype with an increased number of cabins, more public space and additional features. Tradition dictates that two long-standing employees from the shipyard and the ship owner act as godmothers, placing two coins under the new ship’s keel block as a sign of blessing and good fortune. Today Elise Guérin, Project Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Helen Huang, President, Greater China, MSC Cruises had the honour of performing this traditional task.

Cunard Unveils Design Team for New Ship
Cunard has announced the team of designers recruited to create the interiors for its eagerly anticipated new ship set to launch in 2022. Working in concert with the project's Creative Director, Adam D. Tihany, will be award-winning designers Simon Rawlings of David Collins Studio, Terry McGillicuddy of Richmond International and Sybille de Margerie from her eponymous design company.

"Cunard has amassed the most talented interior designers in the industry to bring our new ship to life. Each member of the team brings a unique skill set to the project and working in symphony with legendary Adam D Tihany will ensure a product that is one-of-a-kind and uniquely Cunard," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America.

Adam D Tihany, creative director, added: "We have assembled a dynamic, passionate team of talented creatives whose unique design sensibilities and innate understanding of the Cunard brand will move the dial forward while recapturing the beloved spirit of Cunard travel in this next generation cruise liner."

While design details of the new ship are still under wraps, Cunard can confirm some of the key spaces that the expert design teams will be bringing to life:

• Luxury interior design team, David Collins Studio, whose projects have included Kerridge's Bar and Grill, Corinthia London, The Apartment at The Connaught and Bob Bob Ricard will be responsible for a show-stopping atrium, the Grand Lobby, the Queens Grill Suites and the main dining room. This will be Simon Rawlings and his team's very first interior afloat.

• Richmond International, which counts The Langham London and the award winning Four Seasons Budapest among its clients, will be responsible for the theater, new and exciting entertainment spaces and the outside deck space.

• Renowned French interior studio, Sybille de Margerie Paris, whose projects have included The Mandarin Oriental Paris and Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, will be responsible for the retail spaces, the spa and the flagship event space - the Queens Room. This will also be Sybille de Margerie's first ship interior.

The new ship will be the 249th vessel to sail under the Cunard flag and will bring the luxury line's fleet up to four, for the first time since the 1980s. The ship will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. She joins Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and flagship Queen Mary 2. news_cb_Galapagos.jpg

Celebrity Cruises Unveils 2021 Galapagos Deployment
Modern explorers looking to discover the natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands in unrivaled comfort will find an array of exciting new opportunities with the unveiling of Celebrity Cruises’ 2021 sailings. With the launch of the cutting-edge luxury mega yacht Celebrity Flora and the stunning modernization of Celebrity Xpedition, this is poised to be Celebrity’s best Galapagos season yet, connecting guests to these awe-inspiring islands and the evolutionary wonders found exclusively in this region, such as the blue-footed booby, Darwin’s finches, land and marine iguanas, and more, like never before.

“Celebrity Cruises has been sailing the Galapagos Islands since 2004. All this time in the destination allows us to perfect every detail of the vacation experience and offer our guests a one-of-a-kind, seamless and completely unforgettable vacation,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “We have taken our experience in this unique and untouched archipelago and combined it with an unparalleled experience on board, so that we offer the best ships, the best crews and certified naturalists, and the best all-inclusive packages. There is simply no better way to experience the incredible Galapagos Islands than with Celebrity.”

With its all-suites accommodations, the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will be one of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the Galapagos Islands. The ship will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation with the innovative new Novurania Yacht Tenders, and an industry-first Galapagos Glamping experience. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-led ecological seminars take Galapagos vacations to new heights.

On Celebrity Flora, guests choose from a selection of 10-, 11-, and 16-night packages, which feature either pre- or post-cruise expeditions to bucket-list destinations and including one of two seven-night Inner or Outer Loop Itineraries, both sailing from Baltra, Ecuador.

Following its seven-day “revolutionary” revitalization in September 2018, Celebrity Xpedition debuted with an array of enhancements across the 100-guest mega-yacht, from redecorated staterooms, lounges, and restaurants that perfectly complement the natural beauty of this one-of-a-kind destination, to faster and more reliable Wi-Fi that allows guests to stay connected even as they disconnect.

Travelers looking to experience the gorgeous Galapagos Islands can do so with ease onboard Celebrity Xpedition, where they can choose from a selection of 10-, 11-, and 16-night packages, which feature either pre- or post-cruise expeditions to bucket-list destinations and including one of two seven-night Inner or Outer Loop Itineraries, both sailing from Baltra, Ecuador.

The best ship in the Galapagos will get even better in June 2019, when Celebrity Xpedition will debut enhanced suites services and amenities coinciding with the arrival of the new Celebrity Flora. Celebrity Xpedition suite guests will be geared up with marine binoculars to use on their cruise, as well as premium backpacks and rain ponchos that they can take back home with them. When unwinding in their suites on board, guests will enjoy stateroom attendants who can help with packing and unpacking, full in-suite dinner service, upgraded premium bathrobes, luxurious bath products from Ecuador, and more.

Princess Cruises Will Add MedallionNet to Six Ships in 2019
Princess Cruises today announced that MedallionNet, the best Wi-Fi at sea, will soon be enjoyed by guests sailing on more than half of its fleet.

To meet surging demand from guests, Princess will continue its swift expansion of MedallionNet to add the service on additional ships by the end of 2019. MedallionNet, offering fast, affordable, reliable and unlimited internet service, expands to Coral Princess and Island Princess in time for the Alaska season, Crown Princess and Emerald Princess for sailings during this summer to Europe and on Golden Princess and Sky Princess this fall. MedallionNet is currently available on Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Ruby Princess.

"Guests and crew absolutely love MedallionNet. We're expanding it across the fleet as quickly as we can so that in the very near future anyone who sails with us will experience the best Wi-Fi at sea," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "While many sail with us to disconnect from their digital life, we realize that offering land-like connectivity from anywhere on the ship is something guests value so that they have the option to stream movies, music, sports or video chat and share their amazing vacation experience as much or as little as they'd like."

Princess MedallionClass Vacations Launch Dates for Royal, Crown and Sky Princess The cruise line also announced the formal launch dates for the Princess MedallionClass experience on its next three ships. The hassle-free and personalized voyages enabled by the OceanMedallionTM will launch on Royal Princess on April 13, followed by Crown Princess on July 24 and will be featured on Sky Princess beginning October 12, when the newest ship in the Princess fleet departs the shipyard as the first to be built from the ground up with the Ocean Guest Experience Platform.

Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion is complimentary for all guests and features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

In addition to MedallionNet, Princess MedallionClass Vacations also offer guests a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to save precious time and enhance their cruise vacation, including:

• From curbside to poolside in a breeze: Guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile have an expedited check-in process that starts their vacation sooner with ease. Personalization starts pre-cruise by guests becoming OceanReady before arriving at the port.

• On-demand beverage order and delivery: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly to them throughout the ship, including their stateroom.

• OceanCompass: Available on guests' smart devices and portals throughout the ships, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family on board using ShipMates, as well as enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.

Other innovative features of the Princess MedallionClass experience include:

• Keyless Stateroom Entry: Access to staterooms is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated as the door automatically unlocks. Personalized greetings including loyalty level recognition welcome the guest on their door portal.

• JourneyViewTM: Available now on ship portals and coming soon to smart devices, this interactive timeline lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage. Functionality will also soon give guests the ability to bookmark and add activities that appeal most to them to their own personalized itinerary.

• MedallionPay: An easy to use payment feature, enabling crew members to focus on meaningful guest interactions.

• OceanCasino: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on games , including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.

• PlayOcean: On portals located shipwide and using smart devices, PlayOcean offers guests a new level of fun with interactive games, a digital scavenger hunt, customizable avatars, and more. PlayOcean also transforms guests' mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen.

• OceanView: Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel shows to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no cost – content which airs nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC. OceanView is also available on stateroom TVs as well as on Roku, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

Urban Commons Shares Future Plans For Queen Mary Hotel In Long Beach
Urban Commons, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm and operator of the iconic Queen Mary Hotel, has announced the next phase for the historic Queen Mary ship docked in Long Beach, California. With the intent of continuing to further stabilize the structural integrity of the ship, Urban Commons will focus its development and revitalization plans on a few key areas aimed at improving the guest experience and maintaining the overall health of the ship. Since assuming the 66-year master lease in April 2016, Urban Commons has already successfully addressed numerous projects prioritizing fire and life safety issues and structural integrity.

"Restoring or even maintaining a historic vessel like the Queen Mary is not something that is accomplished overnight. We knew this would be a long road and that the end product would be something of great importance to the Long Beach community which is why we were eager to roll up our sleeves and get to work from day one," said Dan Zaharoni, Chief Development Officer of Urban Commons. "We are pleased to see how the renovations undertaken so far have benefited the ship and we look forward to continuing to improve the Queen Mary in 2019 and beyond. Our collective goal is to ensure that the Queen Mary's future is as illustrious as her glorious past."

Among the renovations and enhancements that have been completed over the past two years include structural improvements in the boiler room of the ship that allowed the popular Ghosts & Legends attraction to reopen, roofing and decking repairs to ensure longevity and safety, updating the ship's fire sprinkler system and painting the exterior hull of the ship and remediating rust. Enhancements to the visitor experience were also made including a new 4D theater, Ellis Island Experience and new Titanic and Winston Churchill exhibits as well as a multimillion-dollar renovation to the Carnival Cruise Terminal unveiled in February 2018.

"While many of the improvements are visible to the everyday visitor such as the new 4D Theater, most of our work and focus areas lie below deck and are not always visible to our patrons," said Adam Grandorff, Vice President of Construction for Urban Commons. "We understand that the community easily observes the cosmetic advancements that are made, but it's important that we always give proper attention and care to the heart and soul of the ship to continue to safeguard its future. We appreciate the public's excitement as we continue to make the Queen Mary the best version she can be."

Urban Commons has also vastly expanded the ship's entertainment offerings and family-friendly attractions. A newly formed partnership with leading music festival producer, Goldenvoice, will bring more than a dozen concerts to the Queen Mary in a calendar year while festive holiday events like "Queen Mary Christmas: Where Holidays Set Sail" bring the festivities of the holidays, including an all-new ice-skating experience onboard the ship for locals and tourists alike.

The 65 acres of waterfront land surrounding the ship earmarked for the all-inclusive entertainment destination known as Queen Mary Island is currently in the conceptual approval phase and Urban Commons is working collaboratively with the City of Long Beach to finalize plans that will allow the highly anticipated development to come to life.

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Footloose as Headline of Entertainment Lineup on Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that the Tony Award-nominated musical Footloose along with the classic aerial acrobatics show, Elements, and the wine-tasting comedy, Wine Lovers: The Musical, will be featured on Norwegian Joy, the 15th ship in its fleet which will begin sailing to Alaska this May.

Debuting for the first time at sea, Footloose, based on the wildly popular movie, follows the story of a Chicago teen with a love of dancing, who moves to small town with a ban on Rock n’ Roll. Although he finds himself at odds with most of the town, including the influential local reverend, he and his friends eventually convince local leaders to lift the ban and allow the town to heal from a tragedy that affected them all. Featuring the hit music of Grammy Award-winning artist, Kenny Loggins, Footloose celebrates warm and open minds.

“We are very excited to showcase Footloose, a feel-good, positive show that encourages people to embrace new ideas, stand up for what they believe in and dance their hearts out,” said Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart. “We’re certain it will have guests ‘kicking off their Sunday shoes’ as they enjoy their cruise vacation aboard Norwegian Joy as she makes her debut in Alaska in May 2019.”

Sharing the main stage with this revamped 80s classic will be the aerial acrobatics show, Elements. This Norwegian Cruise Line favorite revels in the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire and features mesmerizing magic, high-flying feats and exciting music and dance.

As part of Norwegian’s specialty dining performances, Wine Lovers: The Musical, known as the world’s first wine tasting musical production, provides guests the opportunity to taste a variety of wines at a lunch club-style experience while enjoying a hilarious musical comedy about the joys of wine and love. The show will be performed at the Social Comedy and Night Club with wine served to guests 21 and older.

Norwegian Joy is set to reposition to North America in late April following an over $50 million renovation that will make her nearly identical to sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, with an extended go-kart race track and new dining and bar concepts. Her first seven-day, round-trip Alaska sailing from Seattle, Washington will be on May 4, 2019, and she will call to both Glacier Bay and Icy Strait Point during her inaugural season. Norwegian Joy continues with Panama Canal sailings in October before offering weekly sailings to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles in November.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.57 + 2.31%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.56 + 2.20%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.21 - 1.63%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.94 + 5.49%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which soon-to-be infamous figure departed Rotterdam for New York on June 4, 1962 on board Holland America's Maasdam?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
Which famous (former?) show business duo first met on board the German Ocean Liner Berlin in 1959 after one of the two tried to smuggle an exotic pet on board?

Answer - The famous show business duo that first met on board the German Ocean Liner Berlin in 1959 were Siegfried & Roy
courtesy of John Declan, Richmond, Va


Cruise News - February 18, 2019

Royal Caribbean Orders Sixth Oasis-Class Vessel
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique to order a sixth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the fall of 2023.

"It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd."

"This is the twenty-third cruise ship that RCL will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it," said Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

"The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the exceptional quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies and on our capacity to bring innovative solutions to meet our customer's expectations."

This order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of this year.

Princess Cruises Showcases Progress of Three New Royal-Class Ships Under Construction at Fincantieri Shipyard
Princess Cruises is growing and today major milestones for three ships under construction at the same time were celebrated, at Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The three milestones included the introduction of the Sky Princess crew member who was nominated by her peers to serve as Madrina to celebrate the recent float out of the ship which will enter service in October 2019; the keel laying ceremony for Enchanted Princess launching June 2020 and the steel-cutting ceremony for the sixth and final Royal-Class ship, yet to be named, debuting 2022. With two additional ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025, Princess Cruises will have measured growth over the next six years, adding to its current fleet of 17 ships.

"The number of people enjoying cruise vacations has increased on average more than one million new cruisers every year over the last decade, an overall increase of more than 68 percent," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "As we continue to grow our fleet with five new ships arriving by 2025, we're proud to not only celebrate these three major construction milestones in the same day but also to continue to innovate our product with cutting-edge technology and elevated guest experiences that will be offered on all of these ships."

Sky Princess is the first new ship to join the fleet activated with Princess MedallionClass Vacations enabled by the OceanMedallion, the vacation industry's most advanced wearable technology delivering guests the enjoyment of hassle-free, personalized cruise vacations. Sky Princess will also feature MedallionNet, the best Wi-Fi at sea delivering land-like internet speeds for watching sports, movies or making video calls from a smart-phone.

In an industry-first event, three significant ship building construction milestones occurred in the same day, including:

Steel-Cutting Ceremony for the final Royal Class ship
The steel-cutting ceremony for the sixth and final Royal-class ship, was broadcast live to the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone from the builder's yard in Naples, Italy. This ceremony marked the cutting of the first plates of steel to begin the building phase of the ship, which is scheduled to launch in 2022.

Enchanted Princess Keel Laying Ceremony
Princess Cruises and Fincantieri executives started the countdown to the launch of Enchanted Princess as the keel – the bottom-most part of the ship – was ceremoniously lowered into position in the dry dock. Following a traditional blessing, the ship's keel – which weighs approximately 500 tons – was lifted then lowered into position by a huge crane onto the keel blocks. Representatives and invited guests participated in a traditional coin ceremony, and for this occasion, welding an OceanMedallion into the ship believed to bring good luck to the vessel and all who sail on her.

Sky Princess Madrina Celebration in Honor of the recent Sky Princess Float Out
Ms. Kerry Ann Wright, 2nd officer for Princess Cruises, nominated by her fellow crew members will serve as the Madrina recognizing her "Reach for the Sky" story and the career she is forging in the cruise industry. Sky Princess is nearing the final construction and interior outfitting phase before joining the fleet in October 2019.

Swartz added, "We couldn't think of better day to mark these milestones than on Valentine's Day, a day when we typically celebrate romance and our co-starring role on 'The Love Boat.' While we'll always be known for love on the high seas, today also solidifies our position as the fastest growing premium cruise line in the world."

All three 143,700-ton Royal-class ships carry 3,660 guests and will include the best of the stunning features found on Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships' designs.

Recently announced features to debut onboard Sky Princess, include:

• Largest Balconies at Sea for guests in the Sky Suites accommodations, featuring the largest continuous private balconies ever offered by any cruise line. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947 square feet (port side Sky Suite), the furnished balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer 270-degree panorama views and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more room for gathering -- making them ideal for families.

• Princess MedallionClass Vacations enabled by the OceanMedallion, this complimentary wearable device is the most advanced in the vacation industry. Delivering a hassle-free, personalized vacation giving guests more time to enjoy what they love most about cruising.

• Award-winning entertainment offerings, including new jazz lounge Take Five, the popular Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre, and new exclusive entertainment options. World-class dining with more than 25 restaurants and bars onboard. From the World Fresh Marketplace to guest favorites like the Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini's Italian Trattoria, offering the Northern Italian flavors of acclaimed chef, Angelo Auriana and La Mer, a French Bistro by Chef Emmanuel Renaut whose Flocons de Sel restaurant has received three Michelin stars.

• Contemporary-designed Sanctuary with eight private cabanas – offering an adults-only area for rest and relaxation.

• The Enclave at Lotus Spa. Sky Princess will include Princess's largest thermal suite at sea – featuring a stunning hydrotherapy pool, heated stone beds, Turkish bath and dry, steam, and aromatherapy chambers.

Sky Princess is scheduled to launch in the Mediterranean in October 2019, before debuting in North America in December 2019 marked with the traditional naming ceremony before sailing a season of Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale.

Carnival Sunshine Comes to Aid of Cargo Ship in Distress
Early Wednesday morning as it was sailing from Amber Cove toward Grand Turk, Carnival Sunshine deviated its course to come to the aid of a cargo ship, Tropic Scout, in distress with seven people aboard. The ship had listed due to cargo shifting during bad weather which almost sunk the ship, caused an engine issue and the lost use of its lifeboats.

In order to assist and ensure the safety of the mariners onboard, Carnival Sunshine proceeded to escort the cargo ship to Grand Turk.

At approximately 10 a.m. that morning, the cargo ship was able to reduce the list and resolve its engine issue and therefore could proceed on its own to Grand Turk. Carnival Sunshine then continued to Grand Turk arriving at noon and extended its stay until 6 p.m. for guests’ enjoyment.

“Any time we receive a distress call, it is our duty as seafarers to assist,” said Carnival Sunshine Captain Lorenzo Calogero. “We were glad that we were nearby so that we could help.”

Carnival Sunshine is on a five-day cruise that left Port Canaveral on Sunday, Feb. 10 and returns on Friday, Feb. 15.

Princess Cruises Launches First Advertising Campaign for Asia and Emerging International Markets
Princess Cruises today launched its first advertising campaign written and produced specifically for its international markets, titled "Princessa." It showcases the most popular worldwide cruise destinations offered by Princess Cruises through a beautiful storytelling moment of a multi-generational family onboard.

Campaign elements include a 2 1/2 minute short film, 30-second TV and OTV spots, and a dynamically-translated microsite where site visitors can participate in a short quiz to learn their travel personality and view itineraries for recommended travel destinations.

This year is a perfect time for international guests and first-time cruisers to cruise to Alaska with Princess Cruises. The leading cruise line in Alaska is celebrating 50 years of sailing to the Great Land by introducing new entertainment, shore excursions and culinary offerings to mark this significant milestone.

"We're proud to have homeported in Asia since 2013, growing to be the number one cruise line in markets like Japan, Taiwan, and China," said Ryan Barton, Princess Cruises International Marketing Director. "'Princessa' marks the first campaign created uniquely for our international and emerging markets, highlighting our global fly-and-cruise destinations. Princess Cruises is a global destination leader, and through this touching multi-generational story, we see destinations come to life through the eyes of a little girl."

Through a heartwarming narrative, the "Princessa" film centers on a storytelling moment between a family's granddaughter and grandfather as they journey from Australia, to Europe, to Alaska and ultimately fall in love with the world onboard a Princess Cruises cruise ship. Widely considered one of the best vacation options for multigenerational families, Princess Cruises is celebrating its fourth year of an exclusive partnership with Discovery, offering immersive Discovery at SEA experiences.

Filmmaker James Seale shot and directed the commercial, which was written and produced at Princess Cruises. Jordan Critz -- an American award-winning composer and songwriter -- wrote the film's original score. The campaign's print images were shot by French photographer Nico Therin.

Celebrity Unveils Partnerships With American Ballet Theatre And Chef Daniel Boulud
Celebrity Cruises is taking its vacation experience to greater heights by joining forces with two legendary names in the entertainment and culinary worlds—the iconic American Ballet Theatre and world-renowned Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud. Both of these cutting-edge partnerships will create unforgettable onboard experiences unlike anything at sea.

"Our guests know to expect something unique, upscale and unexpected each time they step onboard. By partnering with American Ballet Theatre and the world's leading culinary authority, Daniel Boulud, we are creating experiences that won't just meet those expectations — but shatter them," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

"At Celebrity Cruises, we are always looking for new ways to open up the world, not only through the places the brand visits, but also through world-class entertainment and culinary experiences," said Brian Abel, SVP, Hotel Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "I cannot think of better partners than American Ballet Theatre, who will bring the best classical dance experience on board, and Chef Daniel Boulud, a chef that all other chefs admire and respect for hospitality, creativity and excellence both in the kitchen and dining room."

Celebrity is teaming up for a pas de deux with one of the most acclaimed dance companies in the world, American Ballet Theatre. Founded in 1939, American Ballet Theatre has been a pillar in New York City's cultural community and America's artistic landscape for nearly 80 years. American Ballet Theatre has wowed audiences in all 50 states and in 45 countries, performing for nearly 300,000 annually. Now, through an exclusive partnership that's a first in the industry, they're coming aboard Celebrity's ships to bring guests the best classical dance experience at sea.

As part of the partnership, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive American Ballet Theatre guest performances on select ships, join the dancers for intimate seminars, ballet barre classes, and embark on unforgettable excursions to American Ballet Theatre performances in some of our most dynamic ports of call.

"American Ballet Theatre's mission is to bring the best of ballet to the widest possible audience," said American Ballet Theatre Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett. "We are thrilled to redefine "widest" to now include audiences at sea! This partnership will allow ABT's remarkable dancers to see the world and will invite Celebrity's guests to discover the magic of ballet."

Founder of an award-winning restaurant group that spans the world, including his legendary Michelin-starred flagship, DANIEL and Café Boulud, in New York City, Chef Daniel Boulud is a name every foodie knows. Now, he's joining culinary forces with Celebrity and the brand's own Michelin-starred Chef and Associate Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, Cornelius Gallagher.

As Celebrity's Global Culinary Brand Ambassador, Chef Boulud will design signature dishes for Luminae, the brand's exclusive restaurant for suite class guests. Celebrity is also introducing Chef's Table by Daniel Boulud, complete with a private galley tour and five-course dining experience, plus guest chef appearances on board. The brand is also working closely with Chef Boulud on a culinary mentorship program where the most talented up-and-coming chefs can hone their craft by learning from the best – both in Celebrity's kitchens and in Chef Boulud's.

"I'm excited to embark on this partnership with Celebrity Cruises as we share a common passion for excellence, personalized service and creative cuisine for our guests," said Boulud. "I'm constantly inspired by the local markets in other destinations when I travel around the world and those influences always make their way on to my menus. I look forward to offering cruise guests a taste of my cuisine that complements Celebrity's global offering."

The new experiences with both American Ballet Theatre and Chef Boulud will begin rolling out across the fleet in 2019, starting with Celebrity Summit, then Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Millennium.

Carnival Cruise Line Sets Record for Biggest Vow Renewal at Sea
Carnival Cruise Line celebrated two vow renewal firsts in honor of Valentine’s Day.

The company set a record for the largest vow renewal at sea with nearly 2,000 couples saying “I do” all over again across its fleet of ships. Carnival cruise directors hosted the heart-warming ceremonies in the ships’ atrium lobbies encouraging their vacation goers to embrace love and happiness. A festive balloon drop and celebratory toast followed the fleet wide ceremonies.

In conjunction with the record-breaking vow renewals at sea, Carnival’s #ChooseFun AirShip hosted its first-ever vow renewal ceremony in the skies celebrating the 15-year marriage of Carnival fans and clients of Expedia CruiseShipCenters Cathy and Jim Skoglund during a special Phoenix flyover. The AirShip’s Chief Pilot Terry Dillard performed the ceremony as the couple shared a memorable moment high in the skies – love was definitely in the air! The couple met 25 years ago and have sailed on 14 Carnival cruises, including their honeymoon on Carnival Elation, with two more booked for this year – a total of 92 days at sea.

“We’ve always dreamed of having a memorable vow renewal, but this day was far beyond what we could’ve imagined,” said Cathy. “We love sailing with Carnival, so when we heard about the opportunity to fly with them on the AirShip, we jumped on it! We knew this was the perfect way to celebrate our day.”

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 57.25 + 0.76%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.97 + 1.61%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.23 - 10.22%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.03 + 2.22%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous (former?) show business duo first met on board the German Ocean Liner Berlin in 1959 after one of the two tried to smuggle an exotic pet on board?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship:

Click here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - The picture in this week's trivia contest is the SS Rotterdam (Rotterdam V) just outside the Sky Room on the open deck at the top of the ship.
courtesy of Bill Forsstrom, Cincinnati,OH


Cruise News - February 11, 2019

Princess Cruises Announces Top Staff for New Ship Sky Princess
Princess Cruises has announced the leadership team for its latest ship, Sky Princess, with seasoned master Captain Heikki Laakkonen to take the helm and bring the ship into services from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019, Sky Princess will be brought into service by a team of officers with extensive maritime experience, including more than 140 years' combined service with Princess Cruises.

Announcing details today, Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, said Captain Laakkonen would sail on Sky Princess' inaugural voyage on October 20, 2019 in Europe, and would remain at the helm as the 143,700-tonne ship offers a series of European cruises before sailing to the Caribbean.

Captain Laakkonen will be joined at the launch by Chief Engineer Officer Fabio Braccelli, Hotel General Manager Terri Cybuliak, and Staff Captain Giovanni Cardile.

Captain Michele Tuvo, Chief Engineer Officer Mladen Ratkovic, Hotel General Manager Richard Harry and Staff Captain Brian Whelan will complete the leadership team. Captain Tuvo will represent the entire leadership team during a ceremony on February 14, at the Fincantieri Monfalcone, Italy shipyard to celebrate a significant milestone in the Sky Princess new build process that will celebrate the ships' recent float-out.

"We are confident the deep seagoing expertise of these officers will allow our future guests to safely enjoy all that a Princess experience offers, and their strong leadership will support our crew in our commitment to create lasting memories," Ms Swartz said.

Captain Laakkonen said he was proud to be bringing Princess Cruises' newest ship into service.

"Sky Princess will be a magnificent addition to Princess Cruises' fleet and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to introduce this awe-inspiring ship to our guests," Captain Laakkonen said.

The 3,660-guest Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on - Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ship' designs.

New offerings onboard the ship include the most premium suites ever available from Princess Cruises, the Sky Suites. Centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess, the suites will offer the largest private balconies ever offered by any cruise line. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947 square feet (port side Sky Suite), the furnished balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer 270-degree panorama views and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more room for gathering -- making them ideal for families.

Sky Princess Leadership Team

Captain Heikki Laakkonen - Captain Heikki Laakkonen was born in the coastal town of Kotka, Finland and began his career in the Finnish Navy in 1991. After completing military service, he studied at the Maritime College of Rauma, Finland and graduated as a Master Mariner in 1999. Captain Laakkonen joined Princess Cruises in 2001 and first served as Captain aboard Pacific Dawn in 2013. He has since commanded Pacific Pearl, Crown Princess, Island Princess, Caribbean Princess, Coral Princess, Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess.

Captain Michele Tuvo - Captain Michele Tuvo hails from Levanto, Italy. After completing naval college and serving on container ships, Captain Tuvo joined Princess Cruises in 2000 as a 3rd Officer on the Sun Princess. He worked his way up through the ranks on Sea Princess, Grand Princess, Golden Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Star Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess. He served his first command onboard Star Princess.

Chief Engineer Officer Fabio Braccelli - Fabio Braccelli lives in Cerri di Arcola in Northern Italy and joined Princess Cruises in 1990. In 2004, Fabio began his first contract as Chief Engineer Officer aboard Sun Princess. He has since sailed as Chief on Sapphire Princess, Caribbean Princess, Pacific Princess and Royal Princess. He has been part of the Royal Princess crew since 2013.

Chief Engineer Officer Mladen Ratkovic - Mladen Ratkovic lives in Zadar, Croatia and started his career with Princess Cruises in 2003. Mladen was promoted to Chief Engineer Officer on Pacific Princess in 2014. After his time on Pacific Princess, he has also served as Chief on Ocean Princess, Star Princess and Sea Princess.

Hotel General Manager Terri Cybuliak - Terri Cybuliak hails from White Rock, B.C., just south of the port of Vancouver. She joined Princess in 1998 as a Junior Assistant Purser on the original Crown Princess. Her career has progressed through the ranks, and she has traveled with Princess Cruises to all seven continents.

Hotel General Manager Richard Harry - Richard Harry was born in Farnborough, England and now resides in Bristol. He joined Princess Cruises in 1988 as a Front Desk Receptionist and worked on the original Sky Princess in 1989. Richard has been part of the newbuild teams for five Princess ships.

Staff Captain Giovanni Cardile - Giovanni Cardile was born in Messina in northeast Sicily. Following a family tradition of seafaring, he joined the Merchant Navy as a Deck Cadet, then after service in the Italian Navy, worked on tanker and cargo ships. Giovanni joined Princess Cruises in 2005 and advanced through the ranks to be appointed Staff Captain on Regal Princess in 2014. He has since served as Staff Captain on Regal Princess, Sea Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess.

Staff Captain Brian Whelan - Brian Whelan was born and raised in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. His interest in cruise ships started with some early family cruises, including onboard the S.S Canberra. Brian started his cadetship with Princess Cruises in 2000. He has worked his way up the ranks, including working in the head office, before taking the position of Staff Captain.

Viking Takes Delivery Of Sixth Ocean Ship
Viking today announced it took delivery of Viking Jupiter, the company's sixth ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place this morning when the ship was presented at Fincantieri's shipyard in Ancona, Italy. On February 16, Viking Jupiter will be the first in Viking's fleet to sail the Journey to Antiquities itinerary, a new itinerary sailing between Athens and Rome offering guests the chance to experience the Mediterranean during the quiet season. During its maiden season, Viking Jupiter will sail itineraries throughout the Mediterranean and then Scandinavia. The ship will officially be named in Oslo, Norway on June 6 by her ceremonial godmother, Sissel Kyrkjebø, the acclaimed Norwegian soprano.

"It is always a proud moment when we are able to welcome a new ship to our fleet," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Viking Jupiter is our sixth ocean vessel in just four years– a clear sign of the positive response to our approach to ocean cruising. We are different because we focus on the destination, and that resonates with our guests. We are pleased that with continued growth we have the opportunity to introduce even more travelers to the Viking way of exploration."

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests. Viking Jupiter is part of Viking's award-winning ocean fleet of sister ships, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun, and Viking Orion. Ten additional ships are also planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities at sea, featuring regional cuisine and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences on shore and on board. And only The Viking Way of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

In addition, Viking offers a compelling value compared to other cruise lines. Every cruise fare includes an outside stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; alternative restaurant dining; free Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.

Cunard Announces Record Season Down Under
Cunard has announced that it's second largest ship, Queen Elizabeth will return to Australia for an unparalleled 118 days from November – February 2020-21 fully embracing Australia's summer season.

The season will also feature visits from flagship Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria during their world voyages, with the royal trio spending a record 49 days in Australian ports between them.

Queen Elizabeth's four-month stay in Australia will begin in November 2020 and will include more than 60 itinerary options as she sails from her homeports of Melbourne and Sydney. Voyages will range from two-night sojourns between Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide to longer journeys around Australia and New Zealand.

New offerings include 12 and 13-night cruises between Sydney and Auckland calling at a range of stunning ports along the New Zealand coastline, as well as calls to Tasmania and Victoria. Voyages can also be combined to create a destination-rich 25-night journey featuring an impressive nine New Zealand ports.

Other highlights include a Royal Rendezvous with Queen Victoria in Sydney on March 1, 2021 – marking the first time the two ships have met in Australia – as well as a special overnight call in Auckland on December 31, 2020, enabling Cunard guests to be among the first in the world to celebrate the New Year.

"We are delighted that Queen Elizabeth will be homeported in Australia during the 2020-2021 winter season," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "This is the best selection of Australian cruise itineraries we have ever offered and we are thrilled to give passengers unique and memorable experiences, only available on Cunard."

This past November, Queen Elizabeth underwent a refurbishment, launching Mareel Wellness & Beauty, a new spa concept developed in partnership with Canyon Ranch. In addition, many public spaces, bars and lounges have been updated and all Grill Suites and Britannia Staterooms have new carpets and soft furnishings. The Royal Court Theater had a complete technical overhaul; the Royal Arcade has been enhanced to offer an elevated shopping experience; and the outdoor decks have new furniture with a new layout on the Sun Deck.

The Dawn Of A New Celebrity Millennium
The newly modernized Celebrity Millennium is officially ready to revolutionize modern travel. The ship’s dramatic transformation — part of the THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION — is just the beginning of Celebrity Cruises’ biggest fleet-wide modernization ever, with more than $500 million in luxurious upgrades taking the brand’s fleet to the Edge. On the all-new Celebrity Millennium, discerning world travelers will enjoy enhancements that include:

• Completely redesigned staterooms and suites

• The addition of The Retreat for suite guests, with an exclusive new sundeck and redesigned lounge

• Stunningly reimagined restaurants, bars, and lounges

• A redesigned spa and casino

• New designer boutiques featuring the hottest designer names

And all this is just the beginning.

“This is such an exciting moment for us as we finally get to share the new Celebrity Millennium with the world,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “She has been transformed from top to bottom. I want to share my deepest gratitude with the teams who have worked so hard to make this happen, and I can’t wait for our guests to experience this revolution in travel for themselves.”

Celebrity Millennium’s bow-to-stern transformation began on January 2, 2019, at the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore. There, it spent a total of 35 days in the skilled hands of thousands of engineers, architects, artisans, designers, contractors, shipyard employees, and the newbuild and Celebrity teams.

When redesigning the staterooms and suites, every detail was carefully thought through with guest comfort at the forefront. Celebrity collaborated with renowned international hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) to transform the staterooms on board and turned to famed designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE to refresh the suites and bring The Retreat to Celebrity Millennium.

Revolutionary enhancements made to the staterooms and suites include:

• Refreshed suite design and finishes by Hoppen

• The Retreat Sundeck, an exclusive open-air hideaway for Suite Class guests designed by Hoppen and featuring a new hot tub, cabanas, loungers, artwork, and more

• The Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael’s Club), an exclusive 24/7 lounge for Suite Class guests designed by Hoppen and offering complimentary beverages, gourmet bites, live entertainment, and concierge service

• All-new stateroom design in partnership with HBA

• Celebrity’s eXhale bedding featuring luxurious Cashmere mattresses

• Completely redesigned stateroom bathrooms with all-new finishes and fixtures

• Advanced RFID lock technology with digital key access has been added to every stateroom door

A total of 30 new staterooms being added, including:

• 13 new AquaClass Staterooms

• Seven new Ocean View Staterooms

• 10 new Inside Staterooms

Celebrity is known to always be looking for new ways to open the world, not only through the places the brand visits, but through its globally inspired culinary experience, as well. The brand seized the “revolutionary” opportunity and reimagined many of the restaurants and lounges found on Celebrity Millennium, including:

• Upgraded Oceanview Cafe´, featuring a new open concept, increased seating options, and globally inspired culinary offerings

• Upgraded Main Restaurant, with more seating and updated fixtures

• Redesigned Sunset Bar, featuring a variety of inviting seating options perfect for alfresco dining or cocktails with a view

• Redesigned Rendezvous Lounge hosting events and entertainment from day to night, with everything from a newly enlarged bar serving up tantalizing cocktails to a quiet reading nook for curling up with a book

Guests will find even more luxurious enhancements across the ship as part of THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, including:

• Advanced pervasive Xcelerate Wi-Fi has been enabled on the ship to help keep guests connected

• New boutiques featuring some of the hottest designers in the world, including Shinola, John Hardy, and Hublot

• A new, wellness-focused Spa design by renowned New York design firm Krause Sawyer will transform the treatment rooms, salon, fitness center, and locker rooms

• A new, semi-private consultation area in the fitness center for personal training and consultations

• A new salon featuring services such as a blow dry bar and luxury manicures and pedicures designed for the ultimate in relaxation

• A newly enhanced Persian Garden thermal suite, where new therapeutic spaces and experiences, such a Turkish bath, infrared sauna, and salt therapy, combine to create the ultimate wellness journey within this tranquil, soothing escape

• Enhanced Art Gallery and Photo Gallery by HBA

• A sleek and sophisticated new Casino design in partnership with HBA

• A newly redesigned Casino Bar that’s poised to be one of the most exciting places aboard to celebrate

• Introducing brand new, state-of-the-art slot machines that make The Casino one of the most cutting-edge gaming experiences at sea

Guests are not the only ones who will get to experience THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION, as “revolutionary” enhancements were made across the crew areas, including accommodations.

Celebrity Millennium is just the first revolutionary revitalization for the brand. Celebrity Summit has already entered dry-dock in the Bahamas for its own stunning transformation, with seven more ships to be modernized by 2023.

Carnival Corporation's Expands Guest Entertainment Experiences Across Brands
Carnival Corporation continues to enhance the vacation experience as its nine global cruise line brands expand partnerships with some of the best-known names in entertainment.

New and expanded partnerships with top entertainment brands continue to treat guests to innovative and engaging entertainment, with options that range from live performances and interactive engagement to compelling speakers, unique recreational activities for people of all ages, and personal enrichment. The offerings build on the company's already dynamic lineup of partnerships, onboard performance competitions, show productions, live concerts, comedians, magicians and exclusive experiences that keep guests entertained as they travel to more than 700 global destinations.

"Bringing special partnerships and popular entertainment experiences to the sea is another way our brands continue to surprise and delight our guests – whether they are first-time or seasoned cruisers," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "Our collective goal is to consistently exceed guest expectations by providing an extraordinary vacation, and the wide selection of entertainment options built into the onboard and onshore experiences offered across our cruise line brands are one of the many reasons our guests enjoy going on a cruise vacation again and again."

Family Fun

When Carnival Cruise Line's new ship, Carnival Panorama debuts in 2019, it will introduce the first-ever indoor trampoline park and challenge zone at sea, in partnership with industry leader Sky Zone.

The expansive two-deck-high facility encompasses more than 3,000 square feet, providing high-flying fun for guests of all ages across a 12-lane trampoline court. In another cruise industry first, Carnival Cruise Line also announced that Mardi Gras, its newest and most innovative ship coming in 2020, will feature the first-ever roller coaster at sea. Taking cruise industry innovation to new heights, BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a nearly 800-foot-long track 187 feet above sea level, enabling guests to experience the sea in an exciting new way with breathtaking 360-degree views.

Princess Cruises is celebrating its fourth year of an exclusive partnership with Discovery Inc, offering immersive Discovery at SEA experiences, including newly branded Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, Discovery Family shore excursions and many educational and interactive activities.

Since 2014, more than 1,000 Discovery, Animal Planet and Discovery Family shore excursions in worldwide ports have been added, including approximately 300 exclusive tours that can only be experienced with Princess Cruises. In addition, onboard programming such as Stargazing at Sea offers guests the chance to gaze at billions of stars and learn the wonders of the night sky.

Costa Cruises, the corporation's Italy-based brand and the leading cruise line in Europe, welcomes children enjoying a vacation on board its fleet of ships with areas completely dedicated to Peppa Pig, the UK-based animated character created by E-One and broadcasted to over 180 countries and territories around the world. After boarding, all kids are personally invited to meet the famous pig, and on every cruise, an entire day will be dedicated to Peppa Pig-themed fun with activities such as coloring, puzzles, treasure hunts, workshops and more.

Live Entertainment

AIDA Cruises, Germany's leading cruise line, in December 2018 celebrated the premiere of its new show, "Show me YELLO!," on board AIDAnova – a new music show developed over two years in cooperation with the famous pop duo YELLO from Switzerland, featuring light and shadow effects, LED technology and breathtaking acrobatics. The new show is part of the brand's "Stars Shine Brighter at Sea" project, where over the last month seven ships have been equipped with new show concepts and formats to provide even more onboard entertainment variety.

P&O Cruises (UK) recently celebrated the premiere of "Astonishing," a revolutionary magic and illusion show produced for the brand by BAFTA-winning presenter and entertainer Stephen Mulhern and performer Jonny Wilkes. A brand-new show for P&O Cruises, Astonishing combines the production talents of Mulhem and Wilkes with the spectacular dance moves of leading choreographer Paul Domaine and the mind-blowing trickery of master illusionist Guy Barrett, creating a multisensory show that wows audiences night after night.

The brand also plays host to four dedicated Strictly Come Dancing cruises during 2019 in partnership with BBC Worldwide Ltd. Guests can get closer to Strictly Come Dancing 2019 with P&O Cruises offering private one-on-one dance lessons with professional dancers from the show, an exclusive dinner hosted by show's well-known dancers and dance displays.

Holland America Line recently introduced Rolling Stone Rock Room, a new classic rock club developed in partnership with Rolling Stone, the world's leading authority in music, that lets cruisers step into a unique experience as a live band chronicles rock history while performing iconic hits. Rolling Stone Rock Room debuted as part of the innovative Music Walk area on Holland America Line's newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, when it joined the fleet in December 2018 and on Koningsdam that same month.

The innovative Music Walk on Holland America Line ships offers a variety of musical experiences across multiple genres to create a live experience unlike any other at sea. In addition to Rolling Stone Rock Room, venues in Music Walk include Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King's Blues Club.

P&O Cruises (Australia) recently announced new 1980s Tribute Cruises and the line's first Country Music Festival at Sea as part of the brand's new 2020 program. The dedicated 1980s three-night Tribute Cruises will celebrate the best of the MTV-generation's music from pop, hip-hop, metal and rock, with guests enjoying performances from authentic 1980s bands, tribute acts and original pop stars from the decade. The brand's new Country Music Festival at Sea will celebrate all genres of country music from rockabilly and country rock to folk and bluegrass with unique performances from respected artists.

Expanding Horizons

Building on the success of the exclusive partnership started in 2017, Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine continue to work together to create unforgettable moments inspired by content in the magazine, celebrating the soul-stirring power of travel and the goal of helping people expand their horizons and live their best life.

Guests on Holland America Line cruises can take part in a variety of engaging programming developed with the magazine's editors including: O's Reading Room, 'Just Breathe' morning meditation and movement, inspirational O content on stateroom TVs and select items from "Oprah's Favorite Things" featured in the retail shops on board.

Seabourn, Carnival Corporation's ultra-luxury brand, continues its mission to inspire and enlighten guests with its Seabourn Conversations program.

The popular onboard enrichment program hosts distinguished speakers and personalities from a variety of fields including space exploration, mountaineering, television production, culinary, history, politics and the arts. During the 2018-19 cruise season, the impressive lineup of Seabourn Conversationalists features first-time and returning speakers, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, American astronaut Captain Scott Kelly and seasoned climber Paul Deegan.

On every voyage on Cunard – Carnival Corporation's luxury cruise line renowned for its White Star Service and regularly scheduled service between New York and London – guests have the opportunity to hear and learn from the best with the brand's renowned Insights program, which presents workshops, speakers, runway shows and Q&As with some of the world's most captivating experts from a variety of industries.

Cunard will host an array of Insights speakers on its extraordinary schedule of upcoming special event cruises, including Transatlantic Fashion Week, Literature Festival at Sea, World Space Week, Voyage du Vin and Dance the Atlantic.

As part of Princess Cruises' Come Back New Promise, the cruise line started a multiyear collaboration with Oscar, Tony and Grammy award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz to oversee the creative development of a total of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years. To date, the line's partnership with Schwartz has brought three exclusive production shows to Princess Cruises' guests including "Magic To Do," "Born To Dance" and "The Secret Silk."

UnCruise Begins Summer Sailings in Hawaiian Islands
Building on its history of adventure cruising in the Hawaiian Islands, UnCruise Adventures announces its first foray into summer island cruising with the addition of six departures in July and August 2019. The weeklong small ship cruises sail roundtrip Moloka'i and explore Lana'i, the Big Island of Hawai'i, and sea turtle rich waters off West Maui.

UnCruise Adventures' 36-guest Safari Explorer has operated Hawaii cruises from November through April since 2011. A new weeklong summer itinerary visits four islands with included activities exploring land and sea—kayaking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, wildlife searches and skiff excursions. Cultural heritage is a key component of the UnCruise experience in the islands.

"We've had our eye on operating in Hawaii during the summer, and with current demand, the time is right," said UnCruise Adventures' owner and CEO Dan Blanchard. "Hawaii is a popular vacation destination all year, and now summer travelers can take advantage of the convenience of traveling between islands by yacht."

The new Aloha Hawaii Adventure Cruise sails roundtrip Moloka'i, a lesser visited island with an authentic Hawaii culture and vibe. A local Halawa Valley family with ancient Hawaiian lineage invites guests to their home to "talk story" about island lore and learn how to make poi from taro root. A hike guided by locals meanders past taro patches and ends at a waterfall where those inclined can take a dip. An evening pa'ina feast in town is a true Hawaiian celebration with traditional local cuisine, music and dancing.

On the island of Lana'i, hike to Sweetheart Rock for sweeping views and visit the Lana'i Culture and Heritage Center. Snorkel off West Maui at a turtle cleaning station—where turtles visit for shell cleaning by small fish—and find yourself swimming with green sea turtles and other colorful fish. An evening snorkel in Honomalino Bay draws Giant Pacific Manta ray's up close in a feeding area. Kayak through lava tubes off the Big Island of Hawai'i and stroll through historic Kailua. Marine life abounds with sightings of colorful reef fish, turtles, whales, dolphins, reef sharks and manta rays.

Meals on board are fresh and innovative with produce and meat sourced on Moloka'i. Sustainable seafood is sourced from local fishermen at the Honolulu fish market.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.82 - 2.34%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 116.10 - 2.44%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.37 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.88 - 0.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship:

Click here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to us using this form

Last Week's Question
What was the last cruise ship completed for the Home Lines and what happened to her?

Answer - The last ship completed for Home Lines was Homeric completed in 1986 in Papenburg. She later was stretched and and became Westerdam for Holland America Lines. She also sailed as Costa Europa for Costa Lines.
courtesy of Hugh Chandler


Cruise News - February 4, 2019

Holland America Line Celebrates Dedication of Nieuw Statendam
In an event rich with inspiration and tradition, Holland America Line held a dedication ceremony for Nieuw Statendam Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Oprah Winfrey officially named the ship in a ceremony on board in the ship's World Stage.

During the daytime celebration, Winfrey was joined by Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Stein Kruse, Holland America Group and Carnival UK chief executive officer; and Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

"We are deeply honored to have Oprah Winfrey serve as the godmother of our newest ship in a celebration of our shared belief that travel has the power to open minds, build connections and inspire shared humanity across cultures and people," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Oprah's magnetic energy and astounding ability to inspire others is admired around the world, and today was the perfect culmination of a memorable few days together on Nieuw Statendam and our ongoing partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine."

Nieuw Statendam's dedication ceremony followed the three-day Girls' Getaway cruise to the Caribbean that celebrated the power of female relationships. Gayle King, editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine and Winfrey's best friend, joined her on the cruise, along with several other senior editors from the magazine.

During the ceremony, Ashford highlighted the connection between Nieuw Statendam, the legacy of the ship's name and the stories of life-changing travel experiences for the officers and crew, travel professionals and guests, saying: "Nieuw Statendam represents our highest aspirations for connection and understanding in our world. She is a vessel for exploration and adventure across countries, languages, cultures and peoples, and — we hope — a source of joy for our guests for many years to come."

Winfrey reflected on the Girls' Getaway cruise that had just concluded, saying "It's been an incredible experience to see people from across the world come together with one mind and celebrate themselves, honor themselves and honor each other. Everybody gathered, made friends and connected to people they didn't know because they felt like they had met themselves on some level. I have never seen anything like it." She then officially dedicated the ship as its godmother with the traditional statement, "I name this ship Nieuw Statendam. May God bless her and all who sail on her." The ceremony concluded when Winfrey triggered the release of the traditional bottle of Champagne that broke against the ship's bow.

Following the ceremony, a Gala Dinner was held on board. During the evening celebration, guests were invited to participate in a maritime tradition of pouring Champagne over the ship's bell as a blessing. This ceremony was a recreation of the bell ceremony on Holland America Line's s.s. Statendam IV on January 23, 1957, when a then-18-year-old Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix poured Champagne over the bell to officially dedicate that new ship as it sailed in the North Sea. Nieuw Statendam is the sixth ship in the company's history to bear the name.

Nieuw Statendam was delivered from Fincantieri's Marghera, Italy, shipyard Nov. 30, 2018, and currently is sailing its inaugural season from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean through April 2019. Following a transatlantic crossing, the ship will spend the summer exploring Norway, the Baltic and Iceland on cruises sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Come fall, the ship will make its way to the Mediterranean and offer a series of cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.

The new 2,666-guest ship has an ambiance that balances fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance. At the helm of the design and interiors are internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten, one of the world's leading architects working in the cruise industry.

Nieuw Statendam offers an abundance of unforgettable dining options. Award-winning cuisine is served in the stunning Dining Room; and an array of specialty restaurants feature exclusive experiences such as steak and seafood at Pinnacle Grill, authentic Italian cuisine in Canaletto, the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia at Tamarind and Nami Sushi, and a contemporary twist on French seafood classics in Rudi's Sel de Mer.

The innovative Music Walk on Nieuw Statendam showcases a variety of live musical experiences and genres unlike any other at sea, including Rolling Stone Rock Room, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King's Blues Club.

New Upgrades Debut Onboard Diamond Princess
Princess Cruises guests aboard Diamond Princess will now enjoy a refreshed onboard atmosphere following an extensive 14-day, multimillion dollar dry dock in Singapore, continuing Princess Cruises "Come Back New Promise" commitment focused on investing more than $450 million across the global fleet.

Enhanced offerings onboard Diamond Princess include:

Entertainment Upgrades – guests watching a movie, sporting event or concert on the outdoor Movies Under the Stars screen now enjoy updated 7.1 surround sound digital audio and pool deck LED lighting enhancements for a more vibrant colorful entertainment experience.

Casino – guests who enjoy gaming excitement will be surrounded by new carpet, light fixtures and new flat-screen TVs.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatment rooms have been upgraded and the latest in Precor fitness equipment is now available.

"Asia, and particularly Japan, is on many of our guests' bucket list, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this hospitable island nation," said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. "This is the seventh season Princess Cruises has offered home port voyages from Japan, and we are thrilled to provide guests with our enriched onboard features that bring Japanese culture and beauty to life while sailing this region."

Further general refurbishments were also completed aboard Diamond Princess, including upgraded digital audio system for the Princess Theatre, Explorers Lounge and Club Fusion, as well as new furnishings in the Horizon Court.

In recent months, Diamond Princess also received product enhancements:

The Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Diamond Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. The bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for "Best Cruise Ship Beds" by Cruise Critic.

New Wine List – offering more wine-making regions, varietals and blends than ever before, a total of 142 wines from around the world were curated in partnership with Doug Frost, one of only four people in the world to hold both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier title.

In addition to the new wine menu, six new beverage menus will be rolled out at The Sanctuary, Pool Deck, Wheelhouse, Crooners, and Explorer's Lounge throughout 2019 onboard Diamond Princess.

Following the dry dock in Singapore, Diamond Princess will embark on a 12-night sailing to Phu My, Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka and Shimizu (Mount Fuji) before returning to Yokohama for her 2019 Japan cruise season featuring 60 departures on 40 unique itineraries, visiting 41 destinations in seven countries. Diamond Princess guests will enjoy the itineraries that take them to ports around Japan and Asian destinations visiting sites famous for beautiful spring flowers, summer festivals, as well as fall foliage.

Built in Japan, Diamond Princess features the Izumi Bath, the largest open-air Japanese bath at sea – an 8,800 sq. ft bath and garden complex, offering indoor and outdoor Japanese bathing experiences including steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs with spectacular ocean vistas. Guests can experience the full color and culture of the region onboard with Diamond's distinctly Japanese offerings such as Kai Sushi, an authentic sushi bar, and traditional music and entertainment, all while enjoying the warm, welcoming service that is synonymous with Princess.

Meet ZOE, The World's First Virtual Personal Cruise Assistant
ZOE – the world's first virtual personal cruise assistant – is poised to take MSC Cruises' Guest Services to an exciting new level with guest-centric technology that will further enrich the cruise vacation. Developed in partnership with HARMAN and Samsung Electronics, ZOE is a voice-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) tool found in every stateroom. ZOE can speak seven languages, answer hundreds of questions about the cruise and provide information about on board services, guidance and suggestions or help to book a service. An easy to use device – guests simply say, "OK ZOE", and she's ready to help. The advanced voice recognition feature makes it easy for everyone to control and access information using only voice commands.

ZOE is a first in the cruise industry and another example of how MSC Cruises continues to lead the way by employing technology to enhance the guest experience. ZOE will launch on MSC Bellissima and will then be available on each following new ship, including the upcoming MSC Grandiosa in 2019 and MSC Virtuosa in 2020.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises' CEO commented, "The cruise experience is constantly evolving to become ever-richer, offering an increasingly wide choice of services and facilities. In 2017, we introduced MSC for Me, an industry-leading digital innovation platform that revolutionized the way that guests were able to customize and personalize their experience. The technology was built into the very design of the new ships, incorporated into every step of the development process of each prototype, from conception to construction."

Mr Onorato continued, "This was just the starting point in providing a connected cruise experience. There was a core guest need to be met, which was to find answers to common questions in a quick and easy way, enabling guests to make the most of their vacation. We researched the latest connected technologies and identified voice assistants and Artificial Intelligence as the way to meet this need, and the work on ZOE began."

This ground-breaking AI guest service has been developed in partnership with the MSC Cruises' Business Innovation team and HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. The collaboration has brought together the best-in-class expertise in voice-enabled technology and cruise expertise as part of a shared vision for connected living, now extended to the cruise industry.

"Today, customers have increasingly high expectations for connected experiences wherever they live, work and, now, travel," said Sanjay Dhawan, President - Connected Services and CTO, HARMAN. "Digital Assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the opportunity to create a guest experience that is highly personal, adaptable and intuitive. Our team at HARMAN Connected Services is incredibly excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises as we modernize and enhance the guest experience from the start to the end."

ZOE's physical design features advanced audio with far field microphones and a professional quality speaker to provide the best audio experience. Guests will enjoy fast response times, thanks to the integration of a top-of-the-line quad-core processor, and also have the opportunity to connect their phones directly to the device through Bluetooth to enjoy music, podcasts and more directly in their staterooms. In the future, ZOE will be able to offer further personalization and embedded experiences, and will also become a cross-channel personal assistant that will take on new forms within MSC for Me.

ZOE has been designed to enrich MSC for Me by interacting with the in-stateroom TV. Long-term innovation partner Samsung Electronics, designed the Hotel Management System software that allows the personal assistant to connect with the TV to provide guests further in-depth information and other guest services.

Hyesung Ha, Senior Vice President Of Enterprise Product Marketing Group, Samsung Electronics commented, "Samsung has always been committed to leveraging its technology leadership to improve the quality of people's lives and to bring innovations to the world. The partnership with MSC Cruises is an example of how our advanced solutions enhance the guest experience: not only displays to access information and infotainment content on board, but a true comprehensive digital experience. Thanks to this long-lasting partnership, Samsung and MSC Cruises are bringing innovation to the cruise industry."

To ensure ZOE could respond effectively to all guests, she has been programmed and trained to respond to more than 800 of the most commonly asked questions with thousands of different variants of each question. The conversation designs, ZOE's natural speech recognition and ability to transform speech into text and back again has undergone significant testing, in addition to a variety of other behavioral, experiential and performance tests. As an artificial intelligence solution, ZOE is designed to continue learning and developing her responses based on real guest interactions.

While ZOE acts as a 24/7 virtual personal cruise assistant, she is not designed to replace human interaction between crew and guest, but rather to provide guests with the flexibility to communicate and discover information from the comfort of their staterooms.

Princess Cruises Introduces The Reef Family Splash Zone
When Caribbean Princess emerges from drydock in June 2019, for a season of summer cruises to the sun-drenched Caribbean, The Reef Family Splash Zone will debut offering a refined, playful and relaxing area for adults and kids alike to gather and enjoy the sun and water together.

"In our latest effort to enhance our family offerings, this newly reimagined space invites families and kids to experience a multi-functional area to engage, play, reconnect," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The Reef is the ultimate spot for families of all ages to enjoy spending time together with new water features, recreational activities and lounge areas."

Located aft on deck 17, The Reef will offer many enticing features, including:

Splashpad with Whale Feature – this interactive and inviting water playground features a splash pool, assorted water sprays and showers where families can enjoy a day of splashing, laughing and playing. The focal point is an interactive whale feature, with 'rain" from its fluke.

Game Zone – bringing family competition to a whole new level with oversized backyard games, comfy lounge sectionals, and a kid-friendly bar setting, families can grab some cocktails and mocktails while challenging the kids to a game of Connect Four, Jenga or Cornhole.

New Outdoor Furniture – with a variety of seating and lounging options, from single sun loungers to sectional chairs and couches with tables, he Reef transforms into an inviting space for groups of all sizes aimed to be comfortable and conversational, also featuring new fixtures and finishes.

Shade Canopy and Wind Panels – for guests looking for less sun, a canopy will offer a section of the Reef shade and sun protection while wind panels will be installed throughout the area for all-day comfort.

Upgraded Lighting and Music System – updated lighting to the pool and steps as well as wall lighting installations allow the space to be utilized for evening events and activities.

Refurbished Pool, Jacuzzi and Bar – the existing pool, spa and bar will be updated to match the newly designed space featuring updated signage and contemporary artwork. In addition, just below the Reef on deck 16 in the Camp Discovery outdoor area, kids can interact and explore with a destination themed water table. This educational offering features the many destinations and iconic landmarks Princess visits, including the Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge and also highlights how a cruise ship moves through water, waves and weather and even how to navigate the Panama Canal locks.

Over the last few years Caribbean Princess has undergone a major revitalization, with many family-oriented features and amenities including breakthrough technology, family accommodations, new dining experiences and entertainment offerings.

Caribbean Princess was the first Princess cruise ship to debut Princess MedallionClass vacations, offering guests a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to enhance their cruise vacation. Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry the OceanMedallion wearable device features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment. Offerings include:

• Fast ship boarding with OceanReady – guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile have an expedited check-in process that starts their vacation with ease. Personalization starts pre-cruise by guests becoming OceanReady while at home.

• On demand beverages – using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly to their location throughout the ship and even in their stateroom.

• The best Wi-Fi at sea: MedallionNet – fast, reliable, affordable and unlimited, MedallionNet provides land-like speeds that allow families to stay connected from anywhere on the ship including staterooms which are each equipped with a Wi-Fi access point. With MedallionNet guests easily share vacation experiences with friends and family back home, stream TV shows, movies and sports events, and even make voice and video calls.

• Locate and chat with friends and family: OceanCompass, available on guests' smart devices and portals throughout the ships, leverages the OceanMedallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest, as well as easily locate and chat with friends and family on board using ShipMates.

For families looking for immersive, enriching and fun experiences while traveling, Princess Cruises partnered with Discovery Inc. to create "Discovery at SEA" onboard programming that bring to life many of the destinations visited while on a cruise and favorite Discovery and Animal Planet shows. Onboard activities include:

• Stargazing at Sea & Voyage to the Stars Indoor Planetarium – Science Channel and Princess Cruises take guests on a cosmic voyage looking at the sky from the top deck on an interactive guided tour with a Stargazing Specialist, identifying major constellations and learning the secrets of the stars and the folklore around them. The indoor "Voyage to the Stars Planetarium" displays real-time images of constellations and planets. Both indoor and outdoor stargazing includes commentary from Discovery at SEA's Science Channel Ambassador Astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi and Kari Bryon from Mythbusters.

• Camp Discovery – newly rebranded "Camp Discovery" Youth & Teen Centers offer cruisers, ages 3 to 17, engaging new experiences and wonder-filled centers inspiring creativity, curiosity and entertainment.

• High Seas Heist with Detective Joe Kenda – calling all mystery lovers, Princess guests go on the case with celebrity detective Lt. Joe Kenda to see if they can solve a heist whodunit. This voyage-long experience begins with the theft of a rare necklace and ends with the unmasking of the culprit. In between is a journey full of puzzles, clues and activities as guests narrow down their suspect list with help from Lt. Kenda via video segments.

• Discovery Hit Shows – Discovery at SEA incorporates content from hit shows and programming like Shark Week, Finding Bigfoot and Mythbusters through activities, challenges and trivia.

With family travelers in mind, Caribbean Princess offers 87 connecting staterooms keeping the whole family together. All stateroom types can accommodate up to 4 people. Families of 5 or more can also be accommodated in a two-bedroom family suite. Each stateroom features the cruise line's award-winning Princess Luxury Bed, designed in collaboration with sleep exert Dr. Michael Breus for the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

Caribbean Princess begins a season of summer Caribbean cruises beginning on May 14, 2019 offering alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale. Now is the perfect time to book a vacation to the Caribbean during the All Aboard Sale that is available through February 28.

Carnival Cruise Line Expands Hub App With Pre-Cruise Purchasing Capabilities
The Carnival Cruise Line Hub App is already the most popular consumer app in the cruise industry, and with enhancements announced today, it’s sure to only grow in popularity with the launch of pre-cruise purchasing functionality and online check-in for its North American-based ships. The app’s popular “Pizza Anywhere” on board function is now available on 11 ships with a fleetwide rollout expected to be completed later this year.

“At Carnival, we want to help our guests Choose Fun from the moment they book their cruise. The new features on the Hub App bring their vacation planning to the palm of their hand in ways that consumers have come to expect from great technology,” said Ron Dillehay, vice president of booked guest e-commerce and guest experience for Carnival Cruise Line.

With the Hub App’s new pre-cruise capabilities, guests can now manage their booking, complete their online check-in, and conveniently purchase a wide variety of items and experiences before departure, including shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty dining reservations, Wi-Fi packages and Fun Shop orders for stateroom delivery.

First available on Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista, the Hub App’s popular “Pizza Anywhere” feature has been added to nine other ships, including Carnival Victory, Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Glory, Carnival Ecstasy, and Carnival Liberty.

With the “Pizza Anywhere” function, guests can satisfy their cravings at any time with the touch of a button. To place an order, guests simply click on the ship’s map to mark their location, take a selfie to identify themselves and select their desired pizza and toppings. Five hand-tossed pizzas are available: margherita, funghi, prosciutto, pepperoni and quattro formaggi.

Pizzas are cooked to order and delivered hot to the guest’s location on board. Cost is $5 per pizza and automatically charged to guests’ Sail & Sign shipboard accounts. With pizza delivery well in hand, Carnival is now working towards a pilot to expand “Pizza Anywhere” deliveries with the addition of beverages.

Launched in 2015, Carnival’s Hub App has become the leading app in the cruise industry with a 4.6+ rating in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and more than 5.1 million total downloads. Hub App is designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for making the Carnival vacation experience seamless and convenient from beginning to end, allowing guests to track daily happenings on board, view food, beverage and entertainment offerings, chat with family and friends, follow the ship’s route in real time, and access their Sail & Sign account.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.18 + 3.16%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.00 + 6.05%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.37 - 8.67%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 52.08 + 7.67%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the last cruise ship completed for the Home Lines and what happened to her?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship sported two names (her official name and her marketing name) on her hull as she sailed the Caribbean and elsewhere during the mid-1990s?

Answer - I believe it was the Vasco de Gamma. The name on the bow still read this, but the brochure referred her as Seawind Crown.
courtesy of Louy Lative


Cruise News - January 28, 2019

Princess Cruises Debuts Largest Balconies at Sea
Princess Cruises continues to innovate by introducing the cruise industry's largest balconies at sea, available when sailing in the Sky Suites onboard the new Sky Princess, launching in October 2019.

Two Sky Suites accommodations onboard Sky Princess, as well as the cruise line's next new ship, Enchanted Princess, are centrally located on the top decks – the apex of the ship and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by any cruise line. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947 square feet (port side Sky Suite), the furnished balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer 270-degree panorama views and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more room for gathering -- making them ideal for families.

"We've lead the way on many innovations in the cruise industry, evolving to meet the needs of today's vacationer and of all of our new stateroom innovations, we've never seen such immediate demand as we are for these Sky Suites," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Our global fleet offers one of the highest percentages of balcony staterooms in the industry, across all cabin categories and now we're eager for the arrival of the industry's largest balconies at sea, inviting guests to relax privately or host their very own en-suite celebrations in style."

Sky Suites feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a dining area with a sky-light to the stars. Before Sky Suite guests board their cruise ship, they can take advantage of a pre-cruise, shoreside concierge. Once onboard, guests will also enjoy Sanctuary services on their balcony, a private suite experience manager, complimentary access to the Lotus Spa's Enclave, enhanced ultimate balcony dining and even a deluxe telescope for Discovery Stargazing at Sea. More exclusive Sky Suites services will be announced in the coming months.

Sky Princess debuts in the Mediterranean in October 2019 and Enchanted Princess sets sail in Europe in 2020. Both cruise ships, carrying 3,660 guests, will include the best of the stunning features found on - Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess - as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships' designs.

Additional Sky Princess features include:

• Princess MedallionClass making your vacation experience better because it's easier resulting in an effortless, enjoyable and memorable experiences on the first vessel built from the ground up to deliver a new level of personalized service. Enabled by the

• OceanMedallion, this complimentary wearable device will elevate the guest experience by allowing guests more time to enjoy doing what they love on a cruise vacation.

• Award-winning entertainment offerings, including new jazz lounge Take Five, the popular Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre, and new exclusive entertainment options.

• World-class dining with more than 25 restaurants and bars onboard. From the World Fresh Marketplace to guest favorites like the Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini's Italian Trattoria, offering the Northern Italian flavours of acclaimed chef, Angelo Auriana.

• Contemporary-Designed Sanctuary with eight private cabanas – offering an adults-only area for rest and relaxation. The Enclave at Lotus Spa. Sky Princess will include Princess's largest thermal suite at sea – featuring a stunning hydrotherapy pool, heated stone beds, Turkish bath and dry, steam, and aromatherapy chambers.

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras to Offer Unique Guest Experiences
Carnival Cruise Line today revealed the first look at design details for the highly anticipated Mardi Gras, the line's most innovative ship set to debut in 2020 and the first cruise ship in North America powered by LNG. Mardi Gras will offer an extensive array of popular Carnival guest favorites along with new exciting experiences highlighted by six themed zones. Throughout the ship's 20 decks and in each of these distinctive areas, guests will find fun, memorable ways to create their own personalized vacation with dining, libation, entertainment, recreation, and relaxation options.

The accommodations on Mardi Gras will include more than 20 different stateroom categories and multiple levels of spacious and luxurious suites. Mardi Gras will also include the most expansive open decks on any Carnival ship, and a spectacular atrium that will serve as the hub of the ship as well as a stunning focal point where guests will be welcomed on board.

"When our guests Choose Fun and book a vacation on Mardi Gras, they are going to find many firsts and exciting experiences, all enhanced by the fun atmosphere our great Carnival crew deliver on every cruise," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We've specifically designed Mardi Gras to invite everyone to create their own personalized fun vacation experience with options to suit every age, mood or taste."

The six zones of Mardi Gras' design will invite guests to stroll throughout the ship to enjoy new only-on-Mardi Gras features along with signature elements that have made Carnival America's Cruise Line, all enjoyed amidst a festive, social and community-driven atmosphere with opportunities for guests to relax, recharge and reconnect with family and friends. The six areas will be themed around Grand Central, French Quarter, La Piazza, Summer Landing, Lido and The Ultimate Playground and highlights include:

• Grand Central (Decks 6-8, mid-ship): Creating a sense of wonder the moment guests step on board, the transformative Grand Central takes the traditional atrium concept to new heights, combining a day-to-night entertainment complex with spectacular three-deck-high floor-to-ceiling windows and a bar overlooking the starboard side of the ship that will be the perfect venue for socializing and people watching amid sweeping ocean vistas. Steps away are Bonsai Sushi and Bonsai Teppanyaki which are being expanded from designs on existing ships to reflect their popularity with guests. There's also the first-ever dedicated Punchliner Comedy Club where guests can enjoy nightly shows, and the always popular Piano Bar 88 for sing-a-longs that bring guests together in an intimate feel-good setting.

• French Quarter (Deck 6, aft): In a nod to the New Orleans' culture that combines lively entertainment with an unparalleled food scene, French Quarter will be lined with new bars, music and eateries that perfectly capture the festive spirit of the Big Easy. And since the spirit of New Orleans is so closely tied to the jazz scene, this neighborhood is linked via a two-deck-high promenade leading to a traditional New Orleans jazz club with live entertainment and refreshing hand-crafted libations. More details on these new dining and entertainment choices and the introduction of a new Carnival celebrity partnership will be revealed this spring.

• La Piazza (Deck 8, mid-ship): At La Piazza, guests are transported to Italy where they celebrate the rich heritage of Carnival's senior officers with authentic cuisine from the casual family-style Cucina del Capitano and 24/7 Pizzeria del Capitano to a new Mediterranean-themed seafood restaurant. There's also a bar where guests can savor cappuccino by day or classic Italian cocktails at night, while roaming musicians keep everyone entertained.

• Summer Landing (Deck 8, aft): Designed as the ultimate chill spot, Summer Landing will be home to an expanded Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse with smoked-on-board barbecue favorites created by longtime Carnival partner Guy Fieri, along with the line's exclusive ParchedPig craft beers brewed right on board. For outdoor summer-inspired fun, there will be a pool and whirlpools, a new bar, the lunch counter for the Smokehouse Brewhouse along with ample lounging spaces and hang outs, making this the ideal spot to enjoy all the fun that a Carnival vacation experience delivers.

• Lido (Deck 16-17, aft): Carnival is already known for its varied casual poolside restaurants and Mardi Gras' expanded Lido will take this to a whole new level with existing Carnival favorites like Guy's Burger Joint, the New England-inspired Seafood Shack, and BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, along with some new concepts to be announced at a later date that are sure to inspire foodie fans.

• The Ultimate Playground (Decks 18-20, aft): The aptly named Ultimate Playground will span Decks 18-20 and offer guests amazing sea vistas as they soak up the sun and the fun in this spacious family-friendly play area highlighted by the largest and most elaborate Carnival WaterWorks aqua park in the fleet, along with an expanded SportSquare. The Ultimate Playground is also where guests will find the much-anticipated BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, the first rollercoaster at sea announced in December 2018, where riders race along an 800-foot-long track achieving speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.

Mardi Gras will also incorporate all of the line's most popular signature features from its nearly completed $2 billion fleet enhancement program that has brought a consistent level of experiences to the more than five million passengers who annually sail on Carnival, such as Alchemy Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, and the Serenity adult-only retreat, among others – many of which will offer an exciting twist, along with a variety of new innovations exclusive to this vessel.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record 2018 Results
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported 2018 US GAAP earnings of $8.56 per share and adjusted earnings of $8.86 per share. In addition, the company announced that 2019 adjusted earnings are expected to be in the range of $9.75 to $10.00 per share.

FULL YEAR 2018

US GAAP Net Income for the year was $1.8 billion or $8.56 per share and Adjusted Net Income was $1.9 billion or $8.86 per share. This result beat the January 2018 mid-point guidance by $0.21 per share and equates to a 17.5% year-over-year growth in adjusted earnings per share. This result was achieved despite the unfavorable impact from currency and fuel which negatively affected earnings by approximately $123 million or $0.58 per share versus the January 2018 guidance.

"This year our teams achieved record financial results while introducing four new vessels, acquiring Silversea Cruises, inaugurating two stunning cruise terminals and implementing Excalibur on about half of our fleet," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "By any measure 2018 was a particularly stellar year, and the strong Wave makes us optimistic about 2019 as well."

Net Yields were up 4.4% in Constant-Currency. Strong demand for our core products, better onboard revenues and the consolidation from Silversea's operations drove the year-over-year increase.

NCC excluding Fuel per APCD were up 4.1% in Constant-Currency. The main drivers behind the year-over-year increase were more drydock days, the lapping of hardware changes, investments in technology and the consolidation of Silversea's operations.

FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP Net Income for the fourth quarter was $315.7 million or $1.50 per share and Adjusted Net Income was $322.1 million or $1.53 per share. Last year, US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income were $288.0 million or $1.34 per share.

Gross Yields were up 7.3% in Constant-Currency. Net Yields were up 6.8% in Constant-Currency, slightly better than the midpoint of guidance.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 6.1% in Constant-Currency. NCC excluding Fuel per APCD were up 5.1% in Constant-Currency, lower than guidance, driven by timing.

Favorability from depreciation and our joint ventures also contributed to the quarter's positive performance.

Lastly, a combination of a stronger dollar and fuel rates negatively impacted the quarter by $0.04.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the fourth quarter was $546.70 per metric ton and consumption was 357,700 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2019

The company expects full year Adjusted EPS guidance to be in the range of $9.75 to $10.00 per share.

Wave Season has started on a strong note and Royal Caribbean said that it 's overall booked position for 2019 is better than last year's record high and at higher rates. Demand for our main products is strong across all quarters.

Royal Caribbean said that it expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 6.5% to 8.5% in Constant-Currency and 6.0% to 8.0% As-Reported for the full year. These metrics include approximately 350 basis points from the operation of Silversea, the cruise terminal in Miami and the Perfect Day water-park and resort on the island of Cococay in The Bahamas, which will launch in May of 2019. As an ultra-luxury brand, Silversea's revenues and expenses, on a per APCD basis, are both higher than the company's average. Moreover, our new Miami based terminal and Perfect Day will also increase both our revenue and cost metrics, since their additions do not include APCDs. As such, we have provided the impact of these items on our yield and cost metrics' forward guidance.

"Our yield outlook for 2019 is very encouraging" said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Demand for our brands continues to accelerate and we are well positioned for another year of double-digit growth in our earnings per share."

We are also very excited about the introduction of Celebrity Flora in May 2019 - the first ship designed for the Galapagos - and the introduction of Spectrum of the Seas in the China market in June 2019. These new ships will also be contributors to 2019 yield growth.

NCC excluding Fuel are expected to be up 8.5% to 9.0% in Constant-Currency and 8.25% to 8.75% As-Reported. These metrics include approximately 650 basis points from the operation of Silversea, the cruise terminal in Miami and the Perfect Day development.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it estimates 2019 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $9.75 to $10.00 per share.

FIRST QUARTER 2019

Net Yields are expected to increase 7.5% to 8.0% in Constant-Currency and 5.5% to 6.0% As-Reported. These metrics include approximately 375 basis points from the operation of Silversea and the cruise terminal in Miami.

NCC excluding Fuel per APCD for the quarter are expected to be up approximately 10% in Constant-Currency (up 9.0% to 9.5% As-Reported). These metrics include approximately 800 basis points from the operation of Silversea, the cruise terminal in Miami and the Perfect Day development.

Royal Caribbean also noted that Silversea's seasonality is similar to RCL's core products. Silversea, which was acquired on July 31 2018, will be accounted for on a one quarter lag. Its traditionally weaker fourth quarter will therefore be included in RCL's first quarter results.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects first quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $1.10 per share.

Fire Breaks Out At Princess Cays Private Island
A fire broke out on Princess Cays, the private resort island of Princess Cruises late Monday night.

The fire occurred at 11 p.m. local time on the island. No guests were present at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. The only guest-facing facility affected was one of the public restrooms.

Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas and operated by Princess Cruises, Princess Cays is private destination where cruise ship passegers can relax on miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches and swim in crystal clear waters teeming with tropical fish.

The facility includes a 40-acre complex highlighted by an observation tower offering panoramic views of the island, along with bars, restaurants and retail shops with local crafts, souvenirs and artwork. A complimentary barbeque lunch service featuring an array of delicious choices is also offered. Princess Cays is connected by a series of paved paths that lead to palm tree-dotted beaches where clamshells and private bungalows are available for rent. A variety of shore excursions – from dune buggy adventures and glass bottom boat tours to paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking – are also available.

Various operational enhancements, including the addition of larger, more efficient tenders to facilitate getting guests ashore quickly and comfortably, were recently completed.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause. The company is also assessing impact to scheduled ship visits.

Viking Announces New Offerings For River Cruises In 2019
Viking today announced the addition of two new itineraries and a variety of new pre- and post-cruise extensions to its river cruise offerings for 2019. Debuting in March 2019, the new 10-day Holland & Belgium itinerary will sail between Amsterdam and Antwerp, allowing guests to explore the inland waterways of the Low Countries and visit new ports of call for Viking: Rotterdam, Maastricht and Nijmegen. Also, in commemoration of World War II and D-Day, Viking will offer a new 11-day cruisetour, Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary, with two special departures that coincide with the June 6, 2019 anniversary. On this historic journey, guests will travel from London to the maritime city of Portsmouth before boarding their ship in Paris and sailing through Normandy, where they will visit and honor D-Day landing sites.

"As we begin this new year, one thing is certain – river cruising remains one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. And it is no surprise that experienced travelers love river cruising. There is simply no better method of travel in the heart of Europe – sailing from iconic cities past castle-dotted landscapes into storybook villages, all in the comfort of a modern, Scandinavian-designed Longship," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "For more than 20 years, we have led the industry in developing the largest, most comfortable fleet of ships, the most culturally enriching itineraries, and the best value in pricing. We are proud to continue that innovation and leadership as we expand our river cruise offerings for 2019."

With more guests looking to extend their destination-focused travel experience beyond the core cruise itinerary, Viking has also continued to add to the slate of pre- and post-cruise extensions for new and popular river itineraries. These fully escorted offerings include:

• Timeless Istanbul (New: Pre/Post Extension for Kiev to the Black Sea itinerary) – Prior to or following the river sailing, guests can extend their experience and join Viking in Istanbul for three nights. Where East meets West, guests will visit important religious sites such as the "Blue Mosque" and legendary Hagia Sophia.

• Brussels (New: Pre/Post Extension for Holland & Belgium itinerary) – A perfect complement to the new itinerary, guests can explore Brussels, Belgium's vibrant capital during this two-night extension. Discover the lively café scene, multicultural roots and hidden architectural gems of this important river city.

• Historic Bruges (New: Pre/Post Extension on the new Holland & Belgium itinerary) – Guests can extend their journey with a three-night experience in Bruges, one of Europe's most well-preserved medieval cities. Guests will also enjoy exploring the surrounding area, including the architectural treasures of Ghent and the World War I battlefields of Flanders.

• Churchill's Britain (New: Pre/Post Extension on various river itineraries) – Building on the success of the Oxford & Highclere Castle program – Viking's highest-rated Pre/Post Extension that visits "The Real Downton Abbey" – the company has applied the same degree of Privileged Access to a new curated Pre/Post Extension that explores the remarkable life and times of Sir Winston Churchill, the British statesman who led Britain through its darkest hours during World War II. Guests will have the opportunity to trace

• Churchill's life, from his birthplace – the English baroque Blenheim Palace – and his family home at Chartwell, to his final resting place at St. Martin's Church in the village of Bladon. Over the course of the five-night extension, guests will also have Privileged Access to the Churchill War Rooms, the prime minister's secret underground headquarters, as well as Bletchley Park, the Victorian estate in Buckinghamshire, where Alan Turing and a team of mathematicians and scientists worked tirelessly to break German codes during World War II.

• From the Bulge to Remagen (New: Post Extension for Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary) – As a four-night extension option for this special itinerary, guests will continue to follow in the footsteps of Allied troops who marched across France toward Germany during World Wars I and II. Guests will visit Meuse-Argonne and Luxembourg American Cemeteries, the Bastogne War Museum in Belgium, walk the streets of the ancient city of Mainz and more.

• World War Battlefields (New: Post Extension for Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary)– Also offered during the special anniversary sailing, Viking will escort guests during a four-night cruise extension, exploring the battlefields of northern France and the Low Countries. Along the way, guests will visit Dunkirk, walk through the trenches of Flanders Fields, and pay their respects to British and Canadian servicemen at the Menin Gate.

• Burgundy's Vineyards (New: Post Extension for Lyon & Provence itinerary) – During this three-night extension in France, guests can experience the grandeur of Dijon and the world-renowned wine country of Burgundy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will enjoy the French lifestyle while visiting the Ducal Palace, the local market designed by Eiffel, and the beautiful Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.

Today's announcement comes as Viking prepares to launch seven new river ships on European waterways in 2019. The new ships include six award-winning Viking Longships, which will sail the company's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Daube Rivers, and one additional vessel, inspired by the Longships and specifically designed to sail Portugal's Douro River.

Antarctic Explorer Colin O'Brady To Join Seabourn Conversations Program For First Sailing Of 2019-2020 Antarctica Season
Seabourn is continuing its mission to inspire and inform guests by announcing the addition of acclaimed Antarctic explorer Colin O'Brady for its Seabourn Conversations program for its first Antarctic sailing of the 2019-2020 season. The sailing, a 21-Day Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia itinerary, departs November 28, 2019 from San Antonio (Santiago), Chile.

O'Brady, 33, made worldwide headlines on December 26, 2018 when he became the first person to cross the landmass of Antarctica solo, unaided by kites or resupplies. He accomplished the feat in 54 days, covering more than 930 miles along the way, including more than 77 miles in the final 32-hour window where he went without sleep. Throughout the nearly two-month journey, O'Brady never took a full day off.

"Colin's accomplishment is truly exceptional and will go down in history as one of the most noteworthy Polar treks in many years," said Robin West, vice president of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. "His stories and firsthand descriptions will be a remarkably colorful addition to an already exciting experience for guests who will be onboard this sailing and we are thrilled he will be joining us."

O'Brady is an American professional endurance athlete who has achieved four World Records in his career. He grew up exploring the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and cultivated a passion for adventure in the outdoors. In 2016 Colin conquered the speed records for the Explorers Grand Slam and Seven Summits, a global mountaineering challenge to climb the tallest mountain on every continent including Mt. Everest and ski to the North and South Poles. In 2018 he shattered the speed record for the 50 U.S. High Points when he summited the highest point in each of the 50 states in just 21 days.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.40 + 2.77%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 112.21 + 2.62%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.50 - 3.85%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.37 + 1.77%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship sported two names (her official name and her marketing name) on her hull as she sailed the Caribbean and elsewhere during the mid-1990s?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mary, and the Normandie (This is the only time these three ships were together in one port)
courtesy of Chris Kail


Cruise News - January 21, 2019

New Mein Schiff 2 Delivered to TUI Cruises
German cruise line TUI Cruises took delivery of New Mein Schiff 2, a next-generation cruise ship, in Kiel on January 22, 2019.

“For us it has been a thrill working with TUI Cruises on the design and construction of this ship. The passengers will surely notice and hopefully like the differences to the previous ships," CEO Jan Meyer said. "We have redesigned many of the areas of the ship, e.g. the Schau Bar and the restaurant area in front of the aft diamond structure”,

As the ship’s final silicone painting of the underwater part of the hull is not designed to withstand icy water, and due to ice conditions in the Turku archipelago, the ship sailed to Kiel for the delivery ceremonies.

“The commissioning of our new Mein Schiff 2 marks the successful end of our first expansion phase,” says TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier. “Our sixth newbuild by Meyer Turku not only impresses with its design, its inner values are equally convincing: With the use of modern technologies we are setting standards for environmental protection.“

While learning from previous ships and redesigning every ship is at the core of shipbuilding, Meyer Turku is also reinventing shipbuilding processes. With an extensive ramp-up program including investments of over 200 million euros, continuous recruitments and trainings for employees, Meyer Turku will double its production in the coming five years.

“With new machine and IT technology, our shipbuilding experience and many new ideas we are transforming the whole shipbuilding process to ensure that the ramp-up is executed in a smart and controlled way in good collaboration with our network. And we do need the very best talent to come along us for this journey”, CEO Jan Meyer continues.

New Mein Schiff 2
Length: 315 m
Width: 36 m
Gross Tonnage: 111 500
Number of Passengers: 3132
Number of cabins: 1437
Crew: 1092
Flag: Malta

Celebrity Flora Launched
The 100-guest Celebrity Flora was launced this week at the De Hoop shipyar in Holland this week.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago , the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury vacation experience.

“Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region. Guests will feel as though they’re boarding a high-end yacht for a week of unparalleled adventures, and they are!”

“We are very pleased with the announcement of Celebrity Cruises’ decision to build a cruise vessel with cutting-edge technology, designed specifically to operate around our wonderful islands,” said Enrique Ponce de León, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. “Celebrity Flora will undoubtedly mark a very important milestone in the tourism development of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, offering high quality and sustainable tourism.”

Designed with the Destination in Mind:
The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbors earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travelers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While onboard guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breathtaking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge will be home to Naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated Accommodations, Attentive Service:
Celebrity Flora transports travelers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity’s signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customizable lighting and shades, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental Stewardship and Innovation:
Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions , thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity will reduce the need for plastics onboard by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

"I think this is a clear example of an intelligent investment, not only because the boat design was thought with the characteristics of the Galapagos, but because it is based on the best technology available to protect a Natural Heritage of Humanity,” said Walter Bustos, Director of Galapagos National Park. “This proposal is a mix of experiences and education so that each visitor returns to their country with a different mindset, more committed to the conservation of the environment, which is one of the objectives of the Galapagos National Park "

Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making her first sailing on May 26, 2019

Holland America Line Introduces New Culinary-Themed Shore Excursions in Hawaii and Tahiti
Holland America Line's collection of immersive culinary-themed FOOD & WINE shore excursions is expanding to add the flavors of Tahiti and Hawaii with the addition of eight new tours on those itineraries. Guests on Holland America Line cruises can now choose from nearly 100 tours around the world developed in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine.

During these exclusive tours, guests take hands-on cooking classes with top restaurant chefs, go on culinary walking tours, visit wineries, sample authentic street food, explore local hideaways and more. In addition to Hawaii and Tahiti, FOOD & WINE tours are currently offered in Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada & New England, the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

"Holland America Line's tours in partnership with FOOD & WINE resonate with our guests because they want to connect with our destinations through the universal language of food, and Hawaii and Tahiti offer cuisine with such vibrant flavors," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Culinary excellence in the South Pacific has really taken off on a global level and these new tours are a great addition to this program."

Hawaiian cuisine is a colorful tapestry of flavors, with a melting pot of traditions from all over the world. Yet there are culinary tastes that are distinctly Hawaiian, and they all come together on six new FOOD & WINE tours in Honolulu and Kona and on Kauai and Maui. In addition to exploring the gastronomic side of Hawaii, the tours also feature some of the most scenic and notable sites on the islands.

On the "Famous Oahu Sites and Bites" tour, guests get a memorable taste of Hawaii's buzzing food scene at one of star chef Ed Kenney's hot local restaurants while also taking in Diamond Head, Waimanalo Beach and Pali Lookout in the rugged Ko'olau Mountains.

Kauai features two FOOD & WINE tours: "Princeville, Hanalei & Kilauea Bakery Pizza" takes in Opaekaa Falls, Hanalei Valley and Hanalei Beach before lunch at Kilauea Bakery & Pizza, a wonderful find on the island's north shore that has been featured in FOOD & WINE magazine. "A Taste of the Garden Island" tour offers delectable treats from one-of-a-kind specialty stores, well-regarded local restaurants and under-the-radar food trucks that are practically unknown to tourists. Along the way, the tour makes six stops where guests meet owners and chefs who proudly introduce their culinary creations.

"Scenic Maui and Hona Pizza" in Lahaina features the Iao Valley, also known as The Valley of the Kings, as well as Maui Tropical Plantation, with 2,000 surreally lush acres of pineapples, sugarcane, plumeria, orchids and other types of Hawaiian flora. The culinary centerpiece is a stop at Honu Pizza, where the pies are topped with seafood and other local treats.

Kona offers two FOOD & WINE tours: "Big Island History, Landscapes and Food" features stops at The Painted Church and the Place of Refuge set on the lava fields of Kona's coast, before a memorable stop at the Royal Kona Coffee Center. Here guests sample java straight from the source. The highlight is lunch at Feeding Leaf, a farm-to-table restaurant serving Japanese-Hawaiian cuisine whose motto is Grown Local, Experience Local.

"The Big Island: A Farm-to-Fork Experience" in Kona visits two farms in the northern part of the Big Island, then follows up those visits with lunch featuring fresh-grown ingredients. The tour takes guests to Parker Ranch, founded more than 160 years ago, as well as a family-owned farm where organic produce is grown for area restaurants. The tour concludes with a three-course lunch at Merriman's Restaurant, prepared by chefs using products from local farms.

Two tours in Papeete, Tahiti, showcase the island's exotic fare: "Papeete Market and Master Chef Lunch at L'O à la Bouche" enables guests to discover the flavors of French Polynesia during a market visit and walking tour with displays of colorful and aromatic pineapples, mangoes, bananas, papayas, guava, ginger, vanilla and coconuts. Guests then indulge in a three-course gourmet lunch at L'O à la Bouche, one of Papeete's top French restaurants. In this refined and modern space, guests enjoy a gastronomic menu by Chef Jean Charles that blends his masterful French culinary technique with local Tahitian ingredients and flavors.

"The Le Lotus Overwater Dining" tour is an exclusive option for guests on Amsterdam's Grand World Voyage and 51-Day Tales of the South Pacific cruise that circumnavigates the region in October 2019. Post-twilight, guests experience the artful blending of French culinary techniques and fresh Tahitian flavors during a dining experience at Le Lotus, one of French Polynesia's premier overwater restaurants. Known for its serene setting suspended over a lagoon, Le Lotus is celebrated for its exquisite presentation of French–Pacific Rim fusion cuisine.

Over the next year, FOOD & WINE shore excursions will be available in an expanding array of destinations including the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Alaska and additional European ports.

Princess Cruises Celebrates 50 Years of Alaska Sailings
Princess Cruises first began cruising to Alaska on June 3, 1969 with Princess Italia carrying 525 guests to this breathtaking bucket-list destination. This year, the #1 cruise line in Alaska is celebrating its 50 years of sailing to the Great Land by introducing new entertainment, shore excursions and culinary offerings to mark this significant milestone.

New programs will be available onboard seven Princess Cruises ships sailing in Alaska for the upcoming May through September season, marking the cruise line's largest deployment ever and featuring the debut of Royal Princess, the first time a Princess MedallionClass ship will be sailing in Alaska. Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry, the OceanMedallion wearable device features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

"We've spent half a century developing our legacy in Alaska and host more guests there than any other cruise line – more than 5 million over the last 50 years," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We invite guests to celebrate this 50-year milestone with us, to try new and authentic experiences, combined with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Great Land and embark on an unforgettable journey."

As the recognized cruise line leader, Princess offers a variety of cruise and cruisetour options highlighting the state's must-see attractions, including Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Alaska cruises range in length from seven to 12 days and depart from Vancouver, Anchorage (Whittier), Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Princess also owns and operates five wilderness lodges nestled in scenic riverside locations near National Parks offering more than 20 unique cruisetour options for guests. Princess cruisetours highlight the best of Alaska by combining a seven-day cruise with a multi-night land tour and exclusive "Direct to the Wilderness" rail service – giving travelers a seamless Princess vacation experience in the Great Land.

New for 2019, as part of the Alaska cruisetour offerings, is the grand opening of Fannie Q's Saloon at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. This new restaurant and bar named after famed Alaskan pioneer, Fannie Quigley, will showcase her story and locally inspired dishes in a modern saloon setting, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just outside of Fannie Q's Saloon, the new Fireside Patio also debuts with three firepits offering a new gathering place for guests to roast marshmallows, talk about their adventures and have a drink in the midnight sun. Light refreshments will be available for purchase at this new cozy spot. Last, newly named Grizzly Burger offers a fast-casual restaurant serving up the cruise line's award-winning "Ernesto" burger, named "Best Burger at Sea" by Cruise Critic. This uniquely crafted ribeye burger was created exclusively for Princess by burger expert Chef Ernesto Uchimura.

An exclusive treehouse experience at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters offers guests the ultimate Denali view in an unforgettable setting.

For this anniversary year, specially-themed offerings are added to the award-winning "North to Alaska" onboard lineup that brings unique Alaska experiences to life through local seafood and real Alaskans coming aboard to share their stories:

Northern Lights Planetarium – Gazing up at the Northern Lights is an unforgettable natural phenomenon. Now, guests have the opportunity to enter the indoor planetarium in the Princess Theater and look up at this aurora, a natural and colorful light display.

Adventures Ashore – A number of new shore excursions in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point will be available for guests to truly connect with the local nature, culture and adventures only found in Alaska, including:

• Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Exploration – Hubbard Glacier

• Luxury Whale Watch by Yacht – Juneau

• Interactive Self-Guided Jeep Adventure – Juneau

• Ketchikan Pub Walk – Ketchikan

• Rainforest Trail Bike & Hike Adventure – Ketchikan

• Seafood Feast & Tribal Dance Show – Icy Strait Point

• Tree Top Adventure Park & Zipline – Icy Strait Point

• Adventure Park & ZipRider Combo – Icy Strait Point

• Wilderness Hike & Kayak Adventure – Icy Strait Point

• Discovering the Birds of Hoonah – Icy Strait Point

Local Guest Speakers – From naturalists, to a "Deadliest Catch" fisherman captain, to a world champion lumberjack and the first female winner of the Iditarod, guests will meet with local experts and hear first-hand how Alaska's unique environment has fueled their lifestyles, passions and professions.

A Taste of Alaska – From fresh menu offerings in the main dining rooms to a new Chef's Table featuring the local cuisine of Alaska, guests will delight in seafood, such as salmon and crab, and locally inspired dishes.

"Glacier Tea" & Beer Tastings - A new celebratory cocktail will also be served up - a take on a Long Island Ice Tea, topped off with Blue Curacao, similar to the brilliant glacier blue color found in Alaska. For beer lovers, a special Alaska beer tasting flight will be offered, featuring blends from Juneau-based Alaskan Brewing Company.

Historical Alaska Display in the Piazza – Guests will enjoy a mini museum exhibit featuring notable images throughout the 50 years Princess Cruises has sailed to Alaska.

Princess Cruises to Activate Three Additional Princess MedallionClass Ships in 2019
Princess Cruises announced today the expansion of its Princess MedallionClass experience to three additional ships – Royal Princess, Crown Princess and Sky Princess – building on the enhanced and personalized cruise vacations guests are currently enjoying on its Caribbean Princess ship sailing the Caribbean, and with Regal Princess starting February 17, 2019. The OceanMedallion, included complimentary, is a wearable device that elevates the guest experience by delivering an enhanced level of personalization and innovative services resulting in high guest satisfaction scores.

With the Princess MedallionClass experience coming to Crown Princess in July and Sky Princess in October, all guests sailing with the brand in the Caribbean will be able to enjoy an enhanced vacation through simplified, personalized and engaging experiences by the end of 2019. The addition of Royal Princess will also be the first time a Princess MedallionClass ship will be sailing in Alaska.

"Guests are finding their vacations enhanced with Princess MedallionClass on Caribbean Princess as a new and memorable experience, and we're ready to offer these experiences and personalized services to even more of our guests, including everyone who sails with us in the Caribbean in the fall and winter," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "Starting in April, we will continue the expansion to a total of five Princess MedallionClass ships expected this year, as we continue on our path to fleet-wide activation. And we look forward to bringing the experience to new groups for the first time, such as those sailing to visit exciting destinations in Alaska and Mexico."

Considered a breakthrough in the vacation industry and recently honored with a CES 2019 Innovation Award, the OceanMedallion features leading-edge technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, eliminates friction points and enables interactive entertainment.

Princess MedallionClass vacations offer guests a portfolio of experiences specifically designed to enhance their cruise vacation, including:

• From curbside to poolside in a breeze - guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile have a personalized check-in process that starts their vacation with ease. Personalization starts pre-cruise by guests becoming OceanReady while at home.

• The best Wi-Fi at sea: MedallionNet is fast, reliable, affordable and unlimited. MedallionNet provides land-like speeds that allow guests to stay connected from anywhere on the ship including staterooms which are each equipped with a Wi-Fi access point. With MedallionNet guests easily share vacation experiences with friends and family back home, stream TV shows, movies and sports events, and even make voice and video calls.

• On demand beverage delivery: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks using OceanNowTM and have them delivered directly to them throughout the ship and even in their stateroom.

Other innovative features of the Princess MedallionClass experience include:

• Hands-Free Keyless Stateroom Entry: Access to staterooms is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated as the door automatically unlocks. Personalized greetings including loyalty level recognition welcome the guest on their door portal.

• OceanCompass: Available on guests' smart devices and portals throughout the ships, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest, as well as easily locate and chat with friends and family on board using ShipMates.

• JourneyViewTM: Available now on ship portals and coming soon to smart devices, this interactive timeline lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage. Functionality will also soon give guests the ability to bookmark and add activities that appeal most to them to their own personalized itinerary.

• MedallionPay: An easy to use payment feature, enabling crew members to focus on meaningful guest interactions.

• OceanCasino: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on games, including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.

• PlayOceanTM: On portals located shipwide and using smart devices, PlayOcean offers guests a new level of fun with interactive games, a digital scavenger hunt, customizable avatars, and more. PlayOcean also transforms guests' mobile devices into game controllers for interactive gaming on the massive Movies Under the Stars screen.

• OceanViewTM: Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel shows to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no cost – content which airs nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC. OceanView is also available on stateroom TVs as well as on Roku, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

Princess MedallionClass activates a travel industry first by utilizing an Experience Internet of ThingsTM (xIoT) platform with a guest-centric approach to help maximize a cruise vacation in real-time based on guests' choices and preferences. The result delivers enhanced personalization on a large scale across every aspect of a cruise vacation.

The OceanMedallion was first unveiled by Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald at CES 2017 and was a key factor in Fast Company recognizing the corporation with two Innovation and Design Awards that same year.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 54.88 + 5.13%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.35 + 4.17%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.56 + 0.65%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.53 + 4.37%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
During the Queen Mary's last voyage in 1967, a 14,559 mile journey across the Atlantic and around South America, she carried two very large pieces of unusual cargo on her main deck - what were they?

Answer - On her last voyage - from Southampton, England to Long Beach, California in November of 1967 the Queen Mary carried two full sized double deck London red passenger buses on Main Deck aft.
courtesy of Bill Cwiklo


Cruise News - January 14, 2019

Regent Seven Seas Orders New Ship
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced an order for a new ship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The new vessel will be a sister ship to Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Splendor. The ship will be designed and built by Fincantieri S.p.A. for delivery in late 2023.

Building on the success of its predecessors, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest addition will continue to set the standard for defining elegance at sea. Accommodating up to 750 guests, the intimate and spacious new ship will be the brand’s sixth-all-suite vessel. Details regarding her itineraries, accommodations, dining venues, amenities and onboard experiences will be revealed leading up to her 2023 debut. Voyages for the ship’s inaugural season will go on sale in 2021.

“We are excited to build on the spectacular success of Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Splendor as we embark on bringing to life a new vessel that will set an even higher benchmark for elegance, luxury and style,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This new ship further strengthens our Company’s robust yet measured growth profile with vessels now on order for all three of our award-winning brands, enabling us to expand our presence globally, further diversify our product offerings and continue to drive shareholder returns.”

Since debuting in 2016, Seven Seas Explorer has solidified her reputation as the most luxurious ship ever built with numerous industry awards and continued accolades from guests across the globe. The eagerly anticipated Seven Seas Splendor, set for delivery in early 2020, is following in her predecessor’s footsteps, driving the line’s single-day booking record when voyages for her inaugural season were opened for sale in April 2018.

“Over the past 12 months Regent Seven Seas Cruises has completed a $125 million revitalization of our fleet, began construction on Seven Seas Splendor, unveiled our 2020-2021 Voyage Collection with 167 itineraries and new ports, introduced new relaxed outdoor evening dining venues, debuted the industry’s most immersive Cuba itineraries, revealed Go Local Tours shore excursions, and today we announce the order for our newest category-defining luxury cruise ship," said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Our growth is a reflection of the amazing people who work across our fleet, our valued shoreside employees, our loyal guests and their trusted travel advisors. These are exciting times for everyone associated with Regent Seven Seas Cruises and we can’t wait to show you what’s next.”

The contract price for the vessel is approximately €475 million. The Company has obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of the ship, subject to certain Italian government approvals.

With today's announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has eleven ships on order for delivery through 2027 including seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line, two for Oceania Cruises and two for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.

“This agreement is the perfect seal of the work our Group has carried out over the years and the role we have gained on the market. We are able to enter and maintain a reference market presence in every niche, including the most unique and competitive as the ultra-luxury one, in which Regent Seven Seas Cruises operates. Quality is the ship owner’s hallmark and it entrusted Fincantieri once again,” stated Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “Today we have 10 ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. in our order book, 5 of which have been secured in the last 5 months, for all the three brands in their portfolio: this result confirms the strength of the strategies we carried out, allowing us to reiterate our leadership in the sector at a global level.”

Virgin Voyages Reveals RockStar Suites
Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle brand set to disrupt the travel industry, today released several designs and images of their RockStar Suites. The new company is throwing out traditional clichés on luxury and formalities, and instead bringing Rebellious Luxe to life at sea with their RockStar Suites designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio as the pinnacle of that experience.

Highlights of the Massive Suite, the top suite aboard the Scarlet Lady, include its very own guitar-clad music room, views of the ocean from every corner of the suite, and a massive terrace complete with its own Peek-a-View outdoor shower, hot tub, hammocks and a runway outdoor dining table, where a staircase will help Sailors make their way on top of the table for dancing.

“Virgin has always avoided stuffy formalities and brought a lot of excitement and a bit of rebelliousness to our customer experiences,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “With these glamorous suites, Virgin Voyages is bringing rock and roll to the high seas and spoiling our Sailors like the rockstars they are.”

“We have combined brilliant design and Virgin Voyages’ epic Sailor experience vision to create a completely new version of luxury-- Rebellious Luxe, which is at the intersection of luxury and a rebellious attitude that makes everything we do different, indulgent and meaningfully relevant to our Sailors. Whether they want to sleep all day, praise the sun with yoga at dusk or party all night, our RockStar Suite Sailors can live out their fantasies aboard the Scarlet Lady,” said Tom McAlpin CEO of Virgin Voyages.

Virgin Voyages’ RockStar Suites bring a fresh take to yachting glamour steeped in the Virgin brand’s rock and roll heritage. Inspired by mega yachts and rock and roll style icons like Grace Jones, the RockStar Suites feature Tom Dixon’s iconic retro-futurism designs with a palette of deep blues used with iridescent dichroic elements to echo the colors of the sky and sea when sailing. Touches of yacht materiality are sprinkled throughout the suites with real leather finishes, marble-clad bathrooms and Terrazzo flooring. The suite’s design features nautical nods with a brass glam station and accenting beauty counter and bedhead lighting. The supremely modern suites boast high-quality design elements and bespoke Tom Dixon furniture pieces. Because music is the soundtrack to the soul, each suite is equipped with a vinyl turntable.

“We were intrigued to be appointed to rethink some of the most interesting spaces on this ship. A very rare opportunity to delve into a completely new escapist realm,” said Tom Dixon.

With suites situated atop of the Scarlet Lady, RockStar Suites Sailors will have the best view that money can buy, with all suites purposefully configured to maximize the view of the ocean. Many of the ship’s suites feature a Peek-a-Boo shower, an all marble shower with a dichroic glass window carved in the center so Sailors can always look out at the ocean. Rockstars who opt for the ship’s top Mega RockStar Suites, can bathe under the sun or stars with their very own Peek-a-View outdoor shower.

Because a rockstar can never have too much champagne, the sea terrace for each suite will feature a specially-designed champagne table where an ice bucket fits perfectly at the center of the table situated next to stargazing loungers, and Yellow Leaf brand, sustainably sourced terrace hammocks.

RockStar Suites Sailors will live their best lives all taken care of by the RockStar Services Crew, from time of booking, to sail away and throughout their voyage. There will be backstage access for RockStar Suites Sailors at every corner, with early access to onboard entertainment, restaurants, Shore Things, a private transfer to and from the ship in Miami and an exclusive express VIP pathway to the ship during embarkation. RockStar Suites Sailors will have their very own wardrobe team to help unpack and repack, complimentary pressing service and nightly express swimsuit drying service-- because no rockstar should ever have a wet bottom.

In Rebellious Luxe fashion, Virgin Voyages has reimagined the mini-bar for its rockstars, instead, suites will have a full bar and cocktail kit fit for a rockstar, with the first round on the house.

All RockStar Suites Sailors will have access to Richard's Rooftop, their very own private members club-- a secluded place for them to bask under the sun or have a drink under the stars.

All suites are clever cabins, with mood lighting that automatically adjusts to match the time of day and in room tablets that allow sailors to adjust the room’s lighting. Sailors will enjoy luxurious comforts like premium linens and a plush European king bed in every suite as well as upgraded bath amenities for pampering.

Sailors looking to up their vacation game, can opt for one of the Scarlet Lady’s Mega RockStar Suites, primely located on deck 15. Mega RockStar Suites will receive a personalized bar filled with their favorites, and the RockStar Services Crew will tend to their rockstar rider list, digging up whatever their heart may desire to make their voyage perfect-- all red gummy bears, an electric guitar and beyond. With only 78 RockStar Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are 15 Mega RockStar Suites, aptly named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites.

There are only two Massive Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, with each suite sitting atop of the ship’s bridge. These 2,147 square foot suites, are a place that legends dream of-- each with its very own music room, which seconds as an extra bedroom that is stocked with guitars and an amplifier. At the center of the Massive Suite is a circular oversized couch set up, perfect for conversation and cocktails from the suite’s adjacent in-room bar. Rockstars can primp for an appearance aboard the Scarlet Lady in the suite’s glamorous bath and dressing room area complete with a hot tub, vanity area, two full-sized wardrobes and a marble-clad bathroom with a Peek-a-Boo shower area that overlooks the bedroom and out to the ocean. The Massive Suite’s larger-than-life terrace will be where friends, family and groupies alike can enjoy a private hot tub, a Peek-a-View outdoor shower, a circular conversation pit, a lookout point with stargazing loungers and two full length hammocks. Sailors in the Massive Suite can climb a staircase to the top of the runway outdoor table for dining and dancing in full rockstar glory.

MSC Cruises Reveals Details Of Ocean Cay
Uninterrupted ocean views, crystal clear waters, soft white sandy beaches with blue skies and sunshine – this dream of paradise will become a reality for MSC Cruises guests when they visit Ocean Cay (pronounced "key") MSC Marine Reserve. MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise company, today revealed more details of this one-of-a-kind island experience that will await guests starting November 9th this year.

Imagine a tranquil morning spent relaxing in a cabana on the beach followed by a snorkel tour to discover the coral and taking in the colorful fish and abundant marine life. The afternoon is spent taking part in beach activities, perhaps a game of beach volleyball or shopping for souvenirs. As the sun starts to set, move to one of the beach bars to sip on a cocktail, taking in the stunning sea views and an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Finally, finish the evening with a movie under the stars before returning to the comfort of your ship. Simply magical!

With Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises is transforming a former industrial sand extraction site into a flourishing marine reserve and private island destination that will exist in harmony with the local ecosystem. Ocean Cay has been designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings. The vision is to create a sustainable destination with activities that allow guests to connect with nature and provide opportunities to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programs.

The island is surrounded by 64 square miles of protected waters, and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay for researching climate change-resistant coral in hopes of providing insights to similar island habitats.

MSC Cruises' CEO Gianni Onorato explains, "Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will bring something new and unique to our Caribbean itineraries from Miami and is set to become a truly memorable highlight for our guests. We have created a guest experience that complements the breath-taking natural beauty of this remarkable part of the Caribbean. There was no need for us to build extensively on an island that already had the ingredients of a natural paradise. However, we have undertaken extensive work to clean-up the island, removing tons of historic industrial waste and helping to return the beaches, and the entire 64 square miles of protected waters surrounding the island, to their pristine state."

Onorato continued, "For the guest services on the island we have kept it authentic and designed an experience that will allow guests to simply enjoy nature at its best. The ship is an integral part of the experience as we have built a pier so that guests can go easily back and forth between the ship throughout the day making full use of both the ashore and onboard facilities."

With over two miles of beautiful white sandy beach shore formed from the world's best aragonite sand, guests will be spoilt for choice with seven distinct beach areas, each with their own allure and character. Guests can either escape with warm sand between their toes and the sound of the ocean, or be more active with beach games and water sports.

Sun beds will be available on all beaches, and some beaches will offer cabanas that can be rented for the day. The Great Lagoon's shallow crystal-clear water is perfect for protected swimming and water sports, while the smaller family lagoon is designed for younger guests to enjoy, offering very shallow, calm water and plenty of games. At over half a mile long, the Great Bimini Beach is the largest stretch of beach on the island, as well as the place to go to enjoy a variety of water sports.

The Ocean Cay excursions will allow visitors to explore, discover, relax and enjoy nature's beauty at it's very best. Discover the waters around the island through snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding. The Family Explorer club will also offer fun activities for the entire family.

For those looking for a really special experience, Ocean Cay guests are able to privately rent a smaller island close to the main body of land for the day, which will include: a private boat that will take the group to the island and remain at their disposal; and a marquee, sun beds and loungers and food and drinks. Near the island is an old shipwreck, making it a wonderful spot for snorkeling.

In addition to the excursions, guests can participate in a wide range of entertainment activities including sports games and tournaments, dance lessons as well activities for the entire family.

One of the key highlights of Ocean Cay is that the ship will remain in port into the evening since the island is conveniently located just 65 miles south of Miami, allowing for a range of incredible evening experiences. Once the sun goes down guests can enjoy night time activities such as stargazing on the beach or romantic sunset catamaran tours to bring the day to a very special close. The entertainment on the island will focus around the iconic Lighthouse with breathtaking sunsets and with live music or DJs and a surprising visual experience that will further enhance the atmosphere.

As part of the commitment to ensure that the island is sustainable and to minimize waste, there is a select number of dining options on Ocean Cay. The ship will also be fully operational while docked at the island, and the furthest point from the ship is only a 20-minute walk, or there will be an electric carts service available to transport guests around the island.

The choice of options for food and drink ashore will include:

• Buffet: Conveniently located near the family lagoon, at the buffet guests will get freshly prepared meals from a variety of international culinary traditions, including American classics and authentic Bahamian flavors as well as some kids' favorites.

• Food carts: For guests not seeking a sit-down meal, food carts with casual street food will be available including a taco truck, conch fitter truck, and more. The trucks will be stationary during the day around the beaches and will move to the Marina area at night creating an atmospheric food festival-style feel.

• Food and beverage services will be offered at an additional cost with upgrades available to the beverage package. As the ship is easily accessible guests are able to walk on and off at their leisure, allowing them to also be able to freely dine on board as they choose.

A range of different bars with varying atmospheres and ambiences are spread across the island. These include:

• Authentic Bahamian Bar: Located in the Marina, this friendly bar offers cocktails and drinks in an authentic Bahamian style.

• Lighthouse Bar: This Hemingway-style cocktail bar offers an ample selection of rums, other spirits and delicious cocktails, all with incredible sea views. It's the perfect spot to take a break from one of the island's many activities during the day.

• Beach Bars: There are seven beach bars spread across the island, each with its own personality and its own special look and feel.

• Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Bar: Located in the Marina, this venue offers different kinds of ice cream, from classics to more innovative flavors. The coffee bar serves freshly brewed whole bean and ground coffee, espresso and cappuccino for an energetic start or a quick afternoon boost.

A key part of the island experience is a specially designed retail concept created to reflect the overall vision of the island. Across four distinct shopping areas, guests have the opportunity to take home unique and special souvenirs or find vacation essentials that they may need.

The Bahamian Shop & Market hosts authentic arts and crafts by local artisans and Bahamian companies to perfectly complement the spirit of the Bahamas. Meanwhile the Ocean Cay Trading Post offers a wide selection of exclusive Ocean Cay souvenirs and gifts inspired by nature with items for adults and children ranging from T-shirts, caps, beach items, towels and accessories.

Guests will be able to purchase essentials for the whole family from the MSC Shop, with a range of MSC Cruises branded products such as hats, flip flops, towels, beach bags, sunscreen and lip balms. Guests will also find a number of exclusive partnership products highlighting the marine and sustainable values of the island. Finally guests can collect pre-ordered essential items at the Welcome Center including Ocean Cay survival kits and other essentials and at the same time gather top tips for a day on Ocean Cay.

For those guests looking to relax and rejuvenate on the island, there will be services provided by the award-winning MSC Aurea Spa with a selection of relaxing body and facial treatments. All the beauty products used on the island are bio-degradable and eco-friendly. Some of the specially-designed treatments include the Ocean Cay Breeze Boost massage, which uses aromatic spray waters with soothing and refreshing properties, mainly aimed at the legs, feet and back — the areas of the body normally more exposed to sun. The Ocean Cay Breeze Facial offers the soothing properties of a calming mask and refreshing spray waters, providing relief for delicate facial skin exposed to the sun.

In addition to all of this, MSC Cruises is already planning further enhancements to the already unique and rich offering that has been designed to welcome guests on Ocean Cay.

The island will welcome its first guests on November 9, 2019.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Opening of Second School
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. a leading global cruise company operating the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced the re-opening of the Morne Prosper Pre and Primary Schools in Morne Prosper Village, Dominica, the second school to benefit from the company’s Hope Starts Here hurricane relief campaign.

Together with All Hands and Hearts, the company raised over $2.5 million dollars to deliver early relief response and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean communities impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A portion of the proceeds was used to rebuild the pre and primary schools in Morne Prosper Village, which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Maria. For the primary school, two classrooms that were completely destroyed were rebuilt while new, much-needed kitchen and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities were also constructed for the school. The entire pre-school was also rebuilt with the addition of a new playground.

On January 10, officials from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and All Hands and Hearts along with local representatives from Dominica attended the grand opening celebration of the pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade school, which will open its doors to teachers and students today.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of the second school in the Caribbean that has benefited from our Hope Starts Here hurricane relief campaign in partnership with All Hands and Hearts,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are incredibly thankful for all those who have brought lasting hope to children, families and the Dominica community by contributing to the re-opening of the Morne Prosper Pre and Primary Schools.”

“We’re grateful for partners like Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings who support our response and recovery efforts,” said David Campbell, Co-Founder and Chairman of All Hands and Hearts. “At the center of our work are Build Back Better techniques to make schools, like Morne Prosper, resistant against future natural disasters. Working closely with the Ministry of Education, other NGOs, the schools and local communities, this essential work will create much safer, resilient learning environments, and also serve as evacuation shelters for surrounding communities.”

The Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program launched in late September 2017, when the company partnered with relief organization All Hands and Hearts to help provide immediate relief in Key West and reconstruct schools and critical infrastructure in affected islands in the Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola. It has been the largest fundraising campaign in the company’s history. Within 90 days of the launch, Hope Starts Here reached its goal of raising $2.5 million to assist All Hands and Hearts. The program received more than $1.25 million in donations from the company’s valued team members, loyal guests, travel partners and business partners, which Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. matched.

Holland America Line Turns Up the Heat with Five New Cooking Shows for 2019
From foodie newbies to seasoned cooks, Holland America Line is encouraging guests to embrace their love of cooking alongside the experts at America's Test Kitchen with five new shows starting in January 2019. The new 45-minute presentations — covering everything from tacos and takeout to dinner for two and sweet treats — join the 14 current shows and feature a mix of video, instruction and live recipe demonstrations.

All Holland America Line ships (except Maasdam) feature America's Test Kitchen venues that replicate the set where the prominent "America's Test Kitchen" television shows are recorded for broadcast on public television stations nationwide. The onboard cooking shows on every cruise are hosted by Holland America Line chefs trained by America's Test Kitchen culinary experts and, like the TV shows, combine thoroughly tested recipes with practical tips on everything from how to select fresh fruits and vegetables to how to use kitchen knives safely and efficiently.

"Holland America Line guests are knowledge seekers, foodies and learners, and our America's Test Kitchen shows really resonate with them — which is why they're wildly popular and draw standing-room-only crowds," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "We're excited to expand on the already exceptional menu of shows offered by America's Test Kitchen to include some fun topics that easily transition to the home kitchen."

New America's Test Kitchen shows aboard Holland America Line ships:

• Sweet and Fruity Desserts: The naturally sweet, tart flavors of apples and raspberries take center stage in two knockout desserts: apple crisp and cheese blintzes with raspberry sauce.

• Dinner Classics for Two: Learn our secrets for perfect chicken marsala, rice pilaf and warm chocolate fudge cakes to make an elegant meal for two.

• Mediterranean Medley: This easy weeknight meal is an assortment of dishes from countries along the Mediterranean, including restaurant-style hummus and tender lamb meatballs with couscous and yogurt sauce.

• Serious Tacos: Elevate your tacos with two new recipes: shredded chicken tacos braised in a deeply flavored sauce of chilies, tomatoes and spices; and easy (and crispy) shrimp tacos.

• Make Your Own Takeout: Forget about ordering takeout favorites like pad thai and scallion pancakes. Learn how to make your own authentic versions at home with test kitchen tips.

• The five new cooking shows join a collection of 14 demonstrations, including Meatless Monday Meals, Everything Salmon, Flavors of the Mediterranean, New Italian Favorites, We Love Chocolate, Getting to Know Chiles, Salad for Dinner, Asian Dumplings, Tapas Party, Steakhouse Dinner, Blue Ribbon Breakfasts, Beyond Pasta, Lunch for a Rainy Day and Southern Snacking.

• In addition to the shows, Holland America Line guests have 24-hour access to episodes of "America's Test Kitchen" and "Cook's Country" television programs in their staterooms.

Carnival Corporation Names Katie Lahey To Board Of Directors
Carnival Corporation today announced that on January 14, 2019, Katie Lahey, executive chair, Australasia, for Korn Ferry, has been appointed to the company's boards of directors, effective immediately. The announcement was made following the meeting of the company's boards of directors held yesterday in Miami, Florida.

In addition to her seven-year role with leadership and talent firm, Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY), Lahey is also chairman of the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, and a non-executive director of Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR). She previously served as executive chair of Carnival Australia, a division of Carnival plc, from 2006 to 2013.

Katie's board experience spans 25 years, with outstanding networks at the highest levels of government and business throughout Australia and New Zealand. She was named one of Australia's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by The Australian magazine in 2015. A seasoned executive with 30 years of experience in tourism, government, retail, talent sourcing, cultural transformation and the arts, Lahey will serve in a non-executive capacity on Carnival Corporation's 12-member boards of directors. She will also serve on the Audit Committees.

"We are very pleased to welcome Katie who brings an extraordinary record of achievement and deep expertise in tourism, government, retail and entertainment to our boards of directors," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman. "Katie previously held chief executive roles in the public and private sectors and is also a strong advocate for greater representation of women in executive roles. We are looking forward to working closely with her."

As Executive Chairman, Australasia, for Korn Ferry, Lahey has P&L responsibility for Australia and New Zealand, which has grown under her leadership. She oversaw the integration of the Hay Consulting Group in Australasia, which was acquired by Korn Ferry in 2016. Previously she was CEO of the Business Council of Australia, State Chamber of Commerce, Sydney City Council and, Chairman and CEO of the Victorian Tourism Commission. Lahey earned a Master of Business Administration from Melbourne University Business School.

In addition, the boards announced that Jason Glenn Cahilly will step down from his position as a member of the Audit Committees to accept the appointment to the Health, Environmental, Safety & Security Committees of the boards effective April 1, 2019.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 52.20 + 3.08%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 104.979 + 3.08%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.55 + 1.97%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 45.54 + 4.19%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
During the Queen Mary's last voyage in 1967, a 14,559 mile journey across the Atlantic and around South America, she carried two very large pieces of unusual cargo on her main deck - what were they?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
The decorative doors of the classic French liner Normandie's Grand Foyer survived the ship's fire and sinking. Where can you see those doors today?

Answer - Normandie's famous foyer doors can be seen at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Brooklyn NY.
courtesy of John Fostik


Cruise News - January 7, 2019

Oceania Cruises Orders Two New Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced an order for the next generation of ships for Oceania Cruises. The two Allura-Class ships mark the next phase of the line's OceaniaNEXT initiative and will be designed and built by Fincantieri S.p.A. for delivery in 2022 and 2025.

“We are excited to expand the Oceania Cruises fleet with our new Allura-Class ships to meet the strong demand for upscale culinary- and destination-focused cruise vacations around the globe,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “This new class of ships will further elevate the already best-in-class guest experience at Oceania Cruises and meaningfully strengthen demand from both new and loyal returning guests, which will ultimately drive further returns for shareholders.”

The two 67,000 gross ton Allura-Class ships will each accommodate approximately 1,200 guests. This new class of mid-size cruise vessels will retain all the warmth, popular design elements, and signature amenities of the line’s award-winning Marina and Riviera while affording guests an elevated level of comfort and convenience with the addition of new luxury offerings.

“This new class of ships will represent an evolution of the Oceania Cruises experience with all of the elements our guests treasure – a warm, intimate, residential style; the most spacious standard staterooms afloat; amazing suites, and of course, the finest cuisine at sea,” said Bob Binder, president and chief executive officer of Oceania Cruises.

“This new successful project for Oceania Cruises is yet another demonstration of our ability to capitalize on product innovation and diversification to meet the needs of every type of customer, a capability that distinguishes us in the world,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “The order we are announcing today, indeed, reiterates not only our first place in the luxury sector, but at the same time it further strengthens an unprecedented leadership in the cruise sector, with a backlog of 55 vessels to be built for most of the brands operating on this market, and deliveries extending all the way to 2027.”

The contract price for each of the two vessels is approximately €575 million per ship. The Company has obtained export credit financing with favorable terms to fund 80 percent of the contract price of each ship, subject to certain Italian government approvals.

With today's announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has ten ships on order for delivery through 2027 including seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line, two for Oceania Cruises and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.

Viking Announces Newest World Cruise
Viking today announced its new 2020-2021 Viking World Cruise, which will span 161 days, six continents and 75 ports, with overnight stays in 13 cities. Setting sail on December 14, 2020 from Miami, the itinerary will include six new ports of call for Viking, including Honolulu and Nawiliwili, marking the company's inaugural visit to the Hawaiian Islands.

Sailing on Viking's award-winning 930-guest all-veranda Viking Sun, this grand voyage will allow guests to explore islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific; call upon ports in Asia, from Hong Kong to Bangkok; explore countries of the Middle East, including Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Israel; and sail through the Mediterranean before concluding in London. Guests can also choose a shorter, 140-day segment of the sailing, 2021 Viking World Discoveries, which departs from Los Angeles in January 4, 2021, and visits 27 countries and 66 ports.

"With the announcement of our newest World Cruise, we remain firm in our commitment to offer travelers the most immersive and culturally enriching itineraries available," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "We are a destination-focused travel company, and it has always been our priority to help our guests connect to the destination. It is evident in everything we do – it is why we offer an included excursion in every port; why we have the most extensive Resident Historian program in the industry; and why our ships are smaller to bring travelers to more intimate ports."

2020-2021 Viking World Cruise Highlights:

Viking's newest World Cruise itinerary visits dozens of the world's preeminent cities in one seamless itinerary. Overnight stays in 13 cities allow World Cruise guests to delve deeper into the destination, and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment through onboard lectures and entertainment – such as Viking's Resident Historian program, which provides guests with a high-level historical and cultural education specific to their journey. Guests will immerse themselves in the world's rich cultures during included excursions that provide unmatched insight into daily life, as well as Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Highlights of the new 2020-2021 Viking World Cruise itinerary include:

• Oahu (Honolulu), Hawaii (NEW): The Heart of Hawaii: Guests can enjoy everything from historic landmarks to world-class shopping on the island of Oahu. Soak up the sun along Waikiki Beach's pristine beaches or visit Pearl Harbor to see where the tragic events of December 7, 1941 unfolded.

• Kauai (Nawiliwili), Hawaii (NEW): The Garden Island: Nicknamed Hawaii's "Garden Island," guests will explore the lush vegetation and wildflowers of tropical Kauai while in port. Visit the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens & Sculpture Park, an infusion of beautiful flora and art and home to one of the largest collections of bronze sculptures in the U.S., or follow the footsteps of Captain James Cook, the British explorer credited with the first recorded European contact with the Hawaiian Islands.

• Moorea (Opunohu Bay), French Polynesia (NEW): Paradise in the Tropics: This tropical island is famed for its unprecedented beauty and its cuisine is as colorful as its landscape, drawing on influences from both European and Chinese settlers. Guests can take in this idyllic paradise from the water onboard a catamaran or immerse themselves in Polynesian traditions and customs by engaging with locals.

• Hue (Chan May), Vietnam (NEW): Palaces and Temples: Discover the ancient Imperial City of Hue, a rich repository of palaces and temples and seat of the Nguyen Dynasty for 150 years. Guests can experience the locals' morning trading activities during a visit to a traditional food market or explore the crumbling stone walls of the citadel, which holds stories of long-fought battles.

• Sydney, Australia: Iconic Harbor: Guests will sail into Sydney's magnificent harbor, the world's largest, and enjoy an overnight stay allowing ample time to explore this culture-rich city. Guests can enjoy an insider's view of Australia's world-class opera house or experience the natural wonders of the nearby Blue Mountains.

• Mumbai, India: A City of Old and New: Formerly Bombay, the bustling city of Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. While in port, guests can learn about the iconic activist Gandhi or enjoy the Hanging Gardens, one of the prized few parks found in the city.

• Istanbul, Turkey: Where East Meets West: An overnight stay in Istanbul gives guests more time to experience this historic city that straddles two continents across the Bosporus Strait. Explore a wealth of religious sites such as the spectacular Blue Mosque or the legendary Hagia Sophia, or sample delicious fusion cuisine, combining fresh Mediterranean fare with spices from the Far East and Asia.

• London (Greenwich), England: The Royal Borough: Guests will end their sailing in the historic Royal Borough of Greenwich, London on the Thames River, allowing easy access to the regal capital's iconic sights, including the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral.

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests. Viking Sun is part of Viking's award-winning ocean fleet of sister ships, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Orion. Viking's sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, is scheduled for delivery in February 2019. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, free Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja bath products and heated floors.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. With expansive views from wraparound private verandas, as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board, Explorer Suites offer the ultimate sanctuary for World Cruise guests.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination. LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table.

• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.

• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.

• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.

Cunard Announces New Steakhouse Dining Concept in The Verandah
Cunard this week announced a new dining concept, 'Steakhouse at The Verandah,' which has become a permanent feature at the alternative dining restaurant on board the line's three Queens—Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

Taking influence from both sides of the Atlantic, Cunard's team of chefs have curated a menu showcasing prime USDA gran finished New York strip steak, Main lobster and Alaskan king crab, alongside dishes celebrating British provenance such as Scotch grass-fed, dry aged beef and Salt Marsh lamb rack. Offerings from farther afield such as renowned Waygu beef from Australia are also featured on the menu.

"After the success of the new Steakhouse menu onboard Queen Mary 2 last summer, our team has decided to take the concept across the fleet," said Josh Leibowitz, Senior Vice President, Cunard North America. "We welcome guests to join us at the new Steakhouse at The Verandah concept for the very best steakhouse at sea."

In addition to the new menu, a new selection of craft cocktails will be available at The Verandah bar, reflecting contemporary mixology trends from some of the world's most dynamic cities. The wine selection has also been specifically chosen to focus on 'steak heroes' and features classis peppery Syrahs alongside more contemporary juicy Malbecs and rich Chardonnays.

Steakhouse at The Verandah will be open for lunch and dinner for a $25.00 USD per person cost for lunch and a $39.00 USD per person cost for dinner, with some menu offerings requiring a further supplement. Dinner reservations are pre-bookable on Cunard's Voyage Personaliser or once on board, and lunch reservations are available once on board.

Steakhouse at The Verandah is open on sea days for lunch from 12pm until 1:30pm and for dinner from 6:30pm until 9pm.

Norwegian Gem to Traverse Panama Canal for the First Time
Last week, Norwegian Gem embarked on her first Panama Canal cruise, calling to 10 new ports and debuting on the West Coast when she concludes her itinerary in Los Angeles.

On Jan. 10, Norwegian Gem will be the 10th ship of the modern Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to cross the Panama Canal, visiting 10 new port cities during that sailing.

Among the new ports Norwegian Gem is sailing this season are Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Willemstad, Curacao; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Los Angeles; Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Corinto, Nicaragua.

“We are very excited to showcase another one of our incredible ships on the West Coast, offering guests there a chance to experience our fleet and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with cruising Norwegian,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Gem is the final ship of the Jewel Class. She welcomes over 2,300 guests each sailing and features one of the largest suites in the fleet, the Garden Villas. These suites are over 4,000 square feet and sleep up to eight guests. They include three spacious bedrooms, a living room and a private garden with a hot tub. The ship is also home to a kid’s aqua park, a climbing wall, an expansive casino, over 15 dining options and 14 bars and lounges.

Carnival Corporation's OceanMedallion Named IoT Wearables Innovation of the Year
Carnival Corporation today announced its revolutionary OceanMedallion, the wearable device that powers the breakthrough guest experience platform behind MedallionClass vacations, has been awarded the 2019 IoT Wearables Innovation of the Year by IoT Breakthrough as part of the independent organization's 2019 IoT Breakthrough Awards program.

The IoT Breakthrough Awards recognize innovative technologies and exemplary companies that are driving innovation in the internet of things (IoT) market around the world. This year's program attracted more than 3,500 nominations globally in a range of IoT categories, including industrial and enterprise IoT, smart city, connected home and home automation, connected car and more. All award nominations were evaluated by an independent panel of IoT industry experts, with the highest scored nominee being named the winner in each category. Additional 2019 winners include Samsung Electronics, GE Appliances, Dell Technologies, Toshiba and Sony.

"Carnival Corporation is the first non-traditional technology company that we've recognized with one of our IoT Breakthrough Awards, and it's well-deserved because of the significant innovation it has created," said James Johnson, managing director at IoT Breakthrough. "We are thrilled to recognize Carnival Corporation with the 2019 IoT Wearables Innovation of the Year award for the way the OceanMedallion is already transforming the vacation experience and the very high bar it has set for how IoT will be delivered to mainstream society in coming years."

Originally unveiled by Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, at CES 2017, the Medallion device persistently connects a cruise guest's unique digital identity with an intelligent shipboard Experience Internet of Things (xIoT) ecosystem to enhance guest-crew interactions and deliver a high level of personalized service on a large scale. The device enables all aspects of an elevated guest vacation including hassle-free payment, keyless and personalized stateroom access, frictionless embarkation, on-demand services and more.

The award is the third prestigious recognition Carnival Corporation's patented IoT innovations have received in the past three months. In November, CES recognized the company as a CES 2019 Innovations Award Honoree for OceanMedallion. In December, the company received a 2018 Gold New York Design Award for Digital IoT for its Ocean guest experience platform.

"It's an absolute honor to have OceanMedallion selected by IoT Breakthrough as the IoT Wearables Innovation of the Year and to have Carnival Corporation be considered among some of the most well-respected and game-changing companies in the world," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "This is the third award in three months for our Ocean innovations, and while the accolades are gratifying, our greatest joy is seeing more than 99 percent of our guests adopting the Medallion technology to enhance their overall cruise experience, and the considerable excitement they have for the portfolio of new capabilities."

OceanMedallion and the company's xIoT guest experience platform currently are transforming vacations for guests sailing on Caribbean Princess and Regal Princess from Princess Cruises, the world's largest international premium cruise line and one of Carnival Corporation's nine cruise line brands. Guests are enjoying an extensive portfolio of OceanMedallion-enabled features, specifically designed to enhance the vacation experience, including:

• Keyless Stateroom Entry: Access to stateroom becomes a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated and the door automatically unlocks, with personalized greetings and loyalty level recognition on the welcome portal.

• OceanNow: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to place a food or drink order and have it delivered directly to them in food and beverage locations throughout the ship.

• MedallionPay: An easy-to-use payment experience, enabling crew members to focus on guest interactions.

• Ocean Casino: On smart devices and select portals, guests can wager real money on a portfolio of games, including slots, poker, bingo, roulette, keno and lottery from anywhere on board.

• OceanCompass: Leverages the Ocean Medallion to enable point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship. Ocean Compass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.

• JourneyView: On portals throughout the ship, guests can access a real-time look at their itinerary, along with events and activities taking place during their cruise.

• OceanView: Guests can stream more than 100 hours of award-winning Ocean Original travel content – which airs nationally on weekends on ABC and NBC – to their smart device anywhere on the ship at no cost.

• PlayOcean: On portals located shipwide, guests are able to play family games, including trivia, word jumble, a matching game and Ocean Treks Adventure – an interactive, shipwide digital scavenger hunt.

It Pays to Be Picky: January 2019 Cruise Prices Drop by Up to 31%
Fancy escaping the harsh winter with a lush tropical cruise getaway? Good news: prices for many cruises in January 2019 are significantly lower than they were a year ago. However, there are major differences by cruise line.

While the analysis found that the average cruise price per day actually increased by around 3% - from $397 to $407 per person per night - it also showed substantial price discounts for certain cruise lines.

Disney Cruise Line is among the cruise lines offering cabins at significantly cheaper rates as compared to the same time last year. Whereas a customer had to pay $317 per day for a January 2018 cruise if booked by late November 2017, for the same period one year later there are cabins available at $220 per day - a whopping 31% less.

Some luxury lines are also offering significant savings compared to January 2018. Regent Seven Seas is offering cabins for just shy of 30% off last year's prices, while even Seabourn offers 25% lower prices than the same time last year.

In the mainstream cruise market, Costa Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Holland America Line are offering between 5 and 18% savings compared to last year on individual available cabins, whereas Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean remain at virtually at the same level of deals. Carnival Cruises actually offers fewer bargain cabins available at an average increase of 7%.

Some premium and luxury lines increasing prices by up to 60% compared to last year

Crystal Cruises and Windstar are both offering roughly price reductions of around 10%, but not all premium and luxury cruise lines are offering discounts. Oceania is maintaining stable prices, and Azamara Club Cruises and Cunard are both offering January prices at around a 10% price increase.

Silversea Cruises, Ponant, and Viking Cruises all seem to have a higher occupancy demand, meaning that all three lines have increased prices this year, Silversea and Ponant by over 20% and Viking by a massive 60%.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 50.64 + 2.72%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 101.83 + 4.13%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.52 + 5.56%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 43.71 + 3.11%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
The decorative doors of the classic French liner Normandie's Grand Foyer survived the ship's fire and sinking. Where can you see those doors today?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - The ship would be the SANTA PAULA which was built in 1958 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Grace Line of NY. She ended her days as a hotel in Kuwait City eventually being destroyed there by the retreating Iraqis after during the Gulf War.

Her sister was the SANTA ROSA which went on to become the EMERALD owned by Louis Cruises but operated by Thompson Holidays.
courtesy of M. Dunatov


Cruise News - December 31, 2018

Carnival Cruise Line To Begin Charging For Room Service
Carnival Cruise Line announced this week that it will begin charging for individual room service items starting mid-January. Continental breakfast will remain the only complimentary offering. Carnival had been one of the last of the major cruise lines to offer all-free room service.

"Starting mid-January 2019, Carnival Cruise Line will be shifting to an a la carte stateroom service menu fleetwide," a Carnival spokesperson said. "A wide variety of menu items will be available with a nominal cost ranging from $2 to $5 per item. Charges apply to lunch, dinner and late-night menu items while Continental breakfast will continue to be offered free of charge."

Pricing will range from $2 or $3 for a salad (add chicken for an extra $2) to pan pizzas, wings and cheesesteaks for $4 to $6. Other items include sandwiches ($4) and fries ($2 to $3).

Carnival said the decision to begin charging was based in part on finding ways to reduce food waste; by requiring people to pay per item, cruisers might be less inclined to order food they might not actually eat. The line also emphasized that it still offers plenty of complimentary food venues on its ships.

"Over the last several years, we have heavily invested in bringing more variety to our complimentary food choices across our fleet, while at the same time trying to find effective means to continue to reduce food waste," according to a cruise line statement.

Celebrity Cruises’ Announces 2020-21 North American Season Itinearies
Celebrity Cruises’ 2020-21 season will be the brand’s most expansive yet, offering travelers more destinations to uncover and time to explore the wonders of North America. Travelers will have the opportunity to sail on newly modernized ships as the brand continues to invest in luxuriously redesigned accommodations, refreshing spaces, and custom experiences across its fleet as part of THE CELEBRITY REVOLUTION.

From Alaska and the Pacific Coast to Canada and the Atlantic, no matter which award-winning ship travelers choose, fantastic itineraries, in-depth excursions and spectacular tours will bring them closer to the majesty of North America than ever imagined.

Modernized and eager to travel, Celebrity Summit will kick off her North American season of sailings with a completely new program. She’ll expand her itineraries to visit 19 destinations and 7 countries – both marking new milestones – and bring travelers to Greenland for the first time, along with a Statue of Liberty experience. She’ll stay for more than 10 hours in port at a record 56 stops, docking in 39 of those ports for more than 12 hours. Travelers have never had so many choices and chances to explore beyond her decks.

New 10-night cruises will start the summer, bringing travelers south to historic Charleston, S.C. and to the British charm of Bermuda – the perfect warm-weather escape. Another seven-night itinerary to Bermuda will include a new stop in Newport, R.I., and an up-close experience with Lady Liberty herself as the ship circles Liberty Island and sails out on her way to the pink sands of Bermuda. As one of the most popular tourist sites in the United States, the Statue of Liberty is a definite must-see – and from the top decks of Celebrity Summit, the views are exceptional.

In August, Celebrity Summit will offer new opportunities to travel between North America and Europe with two, 14-night sailings from Cape Liberty to Dublin and then from Dublin to Boston. Travelers will experience new ports of Prins Christian Sund and Qaqortoq, Greenland, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience where floating icebergs and frolicking whales will mystify guests in the arctic Riviera.

Following these exciting summer sailings, Celebrity Summit will settle in Boston, her new homeport, and offer 12-night Canada and New England itineraries for the fall season.

Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Solstice will return to Alaska once again for another season in The Last Frontier. Together they will visit 12 Canadian and U.S. destinations and spend more time in these ports than ever before.

Aboard Celebrity Eclipse, travelers will sail seven-night, round-trip cruises from Vancouver and journey through the Inside Passage, visiting Icy Straight Point, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Adventurers can also book an in-depth Canadian Rockies Cruise tour and journey through the Rocky Mountains on a pre- or post-cruise land tour.

Celebrity Millennium will offer two, seven-night Alaska itineraries – one northbound from Vancouver, British Columbia, the other southbound from Seward, Alaska. Both itineraries feature the Inside Passage and make visits to Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Hubbard Glacier. Alaska Cruisetours are also available to explore all the way to the iconic Denali National Park in the heart of Alaska or travelers can choose an in-depth Canadian Rockies Cruise tour.

The first Solstice Class ship to ever sail in Alaska, Celebrity Solstice offers seven-night, round-trip adventures from Seattle, bringing passengers to Ketchikan, Endicott Arms & Dawes Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, the Inside Passage, and Victoria, British Columbia.

The updated, Celebrity Eclipse will also cruise up and down North America’s Pacific coast in style. While at sea, from San Diego to Vancouver, her Canyon Ranch Spa, diverse and delectable dining options, serene Solarium, and sparkling waterfalls onboard will delight guests.

While journeying from the sun-soaked beaches of Southern California to the rich, green rainforests of British Columbia, Canada, travelers will embark on a vacation like no other. Cruisetours will include chances to discover the delicious wines of Washington state, stroll the stunning gardens of Vancouver, and explore and eat through San Francisco’s world-class dining scene with a special overnight in the iconic city.

Carnival Triumph Provides Seaside Assistance to Sailboat in Need

We’ve all called on roadside assistance to come to our rescue, but how about seaside assistance?

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, as the ship was at sea, Carnival Triumph responded to a request from a sailboat in the vicinity that was in need of oil.

Keeping with maritime tradition and looking to provide a helpful hand, Carnival Triumph approached the vessel to assist as the sailors gleefully shouted, “Thank you, Carnival!”

Captain Isidoro Renda and his team offered the sailors oil for their engine allowing them to successfully continue along their journey.

Carnival Triumph was on a five-day Western Caribbean cruise that returned to her homeport of New Orleans today

Guest Celebrates 100th Birthday Aboard Norwegian Epic Amid 4,100 New Friends
Last Saturday evening, Norwegian Epic hosted a centennial birthday for guest Rose Zelman, during her 32nd voyage with the cruise line.

Following an exclusive dinner with the captain at Cirque Dreams Epicurean, the ship's signature acrobatic production, she was invited on stage and presented with a larger-than-life cake to commemorate her milestone birthday among all of her new friends, some of the 4,100 passengers aboard the vessel. As balloons dropped from the stage, the captain, crew, performers and audience all joined in to sing happy birthday.

A native New Yorker, Ms. Zelman traveled the globe with her husband Bob, but never on a cruise. After his passing in 2001, she met and became friends with Omar O'Besso, who later joined Norwegian Cruise Line as an on-board concierge. In 2005, he convinced her to begin cruising and she embarked on her first voyage, where she learned a new way to travel and see the world.

Since then, Ms. Zelman has cruised three times a year on ships where O'Besso is sailing, celebrated eight birthdays at sea, and visited destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean and Europe. Currently she is enjoying back-to-back cruises to the Caribbean on Norwegian Epic from Port Canaveral.

"Cruising is my favorite way to vacation" said Rose Zelman. "It is hassle-free with so much to do on board from entertainment to activities. I have the chance to meet new people an can explore new destinations with ease, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and even Russia. I was so happy and thankful to celebrate my 100th birthday with my friend Omar and the Captain, crew and my new friends on Norwegian Epic, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the cruise and sailing into 2019."

Norwegian Epic is currently offering seven to eleven-day voyages to the Caribbean from Port Canaveral, before returning to Europe in April for a summer season of Mediterranean cruises.

Top Tips for Choosing a Cruise During Upcoming Peak Booking Period
Cruises are a popular vacation option for travelers and January to March is one of the best times to book a cruise. With nearly 50 percent of all cruises booked during this period, known as wave season, the cruise lines ramp up their marketing and promotions to entice potential passengers.

Whether it's for a cruise in the sunny Caribbean or breathtaking Alaska, historical Europe or South America -- many of the industry's most-respected brands feature some of their best offers during wave season. This includes all types of cruising experiences, ranging from deep water ocean vessels to small luxury ships and river cruises.

The period from January through March has traditionally been known as "wave season," the time of year when cruise lines roll out their biggest deals and most enticing perks, in hopes of filling up staterooms for the coming season. Here are some tips that help travelers narrow their cruise choices so they can take advantage of special wave season offers.

What type of ship is best. Large, oceangoing vessels that travel to the Caribbean and Alaska are like floating cities, with lots of choices for dining, activities and entertainment. They're great for families with children. River cruises, like the ones that ply Europe's waterways, are smaller ships and provide a more intimate experience. They can travel close to the center of cities and towns. Onboard activities emphasize the cuisine, history and culture of the destinations.

Culinary adventures. These cruises make sure the food is as appealing as the destinations. With innovative partnerships with well-known chefs and culinary experts, the cruise lines offer a way to immerse oneself and deepen one's understanding of a region by taking a journey that feeds the senses with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of local and authentic flavors. Expanded onboard cuisine options to shore excursions will often focus on flavorful, regional ingredients, cooking styles, demonstrations and tastings.

Journeys that quench thirst. Whether it is aged wines, craft beers or fresh cocktails, many people travel to experience the fine taste of local beverages. Certain cruises offer an opportunity for tastings and to learn from mixologists, sommeliers or famous brewers either onboard, during shore excursions or both. These cruises provide opportunities to try different selections that bring the rich history and culture of the people alive. Travelers may tap their own beer, blend their own wine, or explore a region rich in the history of the local vineyards.

Expedition cruises for the explorer. For adventurers who would enjoy smaller ships that can travel to more remote destinations, they may love an expedition cruise. These ships, equipped with sturdy, inflatable boats called Zodiacs, take vacationers to the shore for land-based excursions or to spots in the water for activities such as deep-sea snorkeling or diving. Smaller ships also allow passengers to disembark more frequently, often with two or three landings or shore excursions per day for unique sightings and adventures.

Multi-family ocean adventures. Family-oriented cruise lines have ships that offer fabulous children's programs that have a mix of fun and educational activities. Some have water slides and roller coasters, bungee jumping and zip lining, as well as art and cooking courses that the whole family can enjoy.

For teens, there are exclusive areas where they can play games, watch movies, learn to be a DJ or just relax. Teens also tend to make good use of the pools and sports facilities with the new friends they meet on board. The kids' clubs and teen lounges are off-limits to adults, but there are lots of other spaces for the mature members of the group to enjoy, including the ship's fitness center, spa, theaters, lounges and casino. Most ships also have adults-only spaces.

Additional price savings and travel tips. When travelers are flexible on travel dates, they may find it is less expensive to sail on one date versus another. Additional savings can also be found on airfare. While it's not always feasible depending on the destination, one can save even more by leaving from a port close to home. For those traveling long distance, it is always advisable to arrive to the port city at least a day before the ship sails. This gives vacationers a chance to explore the port before departing, and also relieves the stress and worry should they experience flight delays or even misplaced luggage -- all of which can add to the expense of the trip.

Whether one is a veteran cruise passenger thinking about that next trip, or a traveler who has always wanted to go on one, now is the time to start planning a voyage for 2019.

Carnival Cruise AirShip Takes Flight
Kicking off a year-long celebration welcoming the new Carnival Panorama to the West Coast, Carnival Cruise Line is going to extreme heights today ­– literally – as its popular Carnival AirShip makes its aerial debut in Southern California.

Inviting everyone to "Choose Fun," the 120-foot-long AirShip will fly over and visit culture and entertainment locations across the state throughout January including The Rose Parade: A Showcase of Floats on Jan. 2 as well as sporting events; local schools; Carnival's homeports in Long Beach on Jan. 5, San Diego on Jan. 13 and San Francisco on Jan. 25; travel agent viewing parties; and select Sky Zone trampoline park locations, Carnival Panorama's newest all-ages attraction, starting with the Anaheim location on Jan 11.

In conjunction with the AirShip's California tour, consumers have a chance to win a free cruise as well as additional prizes each week throughout the month of January that give them a taste of Carnival fun when they enter the AirShip Sweepstakes at carnival.com/choosefun.

The AirShip also creates the opportunity to raise money for a great cause. For anyone who takes a picture of the AirShip and posts it on social media with the hashtag #ChooseFun, Carnival will make a $2 donation to its longtime charity partner St. Jude Children's Research Hospital up to a maximum donation of $20,000.

This past summer, the AirShip made its inaugural journey in the southeast U.S. to celebrate the arrival of new ships in multiple homeports. It proved to be popular on social and news media channels as well as with thousands of cruise fans who posted photos on their own social media platforms.

"The Carnival AirShip was so well received when she debuted earlier this year, and we're delighted to bring her back to the West Coast to kick start our year-long celebration of Carnival Panorama. It's officially go-time!" said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival is the number one cruise line from Southern California. Our AirShip is a great way to let everyone know about the many exciting choices for guests to Choose Fun from the West Coast."

Carnival Panorama will debut with a special three-day inaugural cruise from Long Beach on Dec. 11, 2019, followed by the launch of year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera sailings on Dec. 14, 2019. The ship joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration to carry upwards of 600,000 guests annually from the West Coast – more than any other cruise operator.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 49.30 + 6.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 97.79 + 9.29%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.44 + 7.46%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.39 + 7.18%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cargo liner built in 1958 ended her career as a land-locked hotel in Kuwait City, Kuwait?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - The southern transatlantic route to the Mediterranean was popularly called the "Sun-Lane Route". The last two ships to regularly run that trade were American Export Line's incomparable INDEPENDENCE and CONSTITUTION. They are also the most famous ships to have operated in that trade.
courtesy of Frank X. Prudent


Cruise News - December 24, 2018

Cunard Unveils First Full Season of Alaska Voyages in 2020
Cunard today announced that it will spend a full season in Alaska from June through September in 2020 on newly-refit Queen Elizabeth. Cunard is making its grand return to Alaska in May 2019 – and due to high demand, the line will double their program in 2020.

This expanded program will offer ten roundtrip voyages out of Vancouver ranging from nine to twelve nights and one getaway cruise to San Francisco for an overnight stay on Independence Day. Guests will have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty of Alaska with the iconic experience of sailing on a Cunard ship.

"We are so excited to offer an extended season in Alaska on Queen Elizabeth in 2020," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "Due to strong demand and passenger feedback, Cunard has more than doubled its voyages in Alaska, visiting the most incredible cities with longer time in port to enjoy this inspiring destination."

Each Alaska voyage will feature fascinating destinations along the Pacific Northwest coast of Alaska and British Columbia with longer time in port including Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and more. In addition, the voyages offer awe-inspiring scenic cruising in the narrow waterways of the Inside Passage, the Hubbard Glacier and Sawyer Glacier's twin fjords, Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm.

Passengers have the opportunity to combine voyages together, including the Alaska roundtrips, Independence Day cruise and the North Pacific Crossings from Yokohama or to Tokyo. These 2020 voyages include:

• Alaska Voyage, roundtrip from Vancouver, 10 nights from June 2-12, 2019 (Q017),

• Independence Day Celebration, Vancouver to San Francisco with an overnight in port, 3 nights from July 2-5 (Q020A),

• San Francisco to Vancouver, 16 nights from July 5-21 (Q020D),

• Vancouver to Tokyo, 29 nights from August 29-September 28 (Q026A),

Queen Elizabeth, the youngest ship in the fleet, has just come out of refit this November, launching a new spa concept onboard: Mareel Wellness & Beauty, developed in partnership with industry innovator Canyon Ranch. The new brand will offer a holistic approach with a focus on the healing energy of the sea. The spa offers an extensive new treatment menu with mineral-rich seawater and marine-based experiences as well as a redesign of the entire spa facility. In addition, many public spaces, bars and lounges have been updated and all Grill Suites and Britannia Staterooms have new carpets and soft furnishings. The Royal Court Theatre had a complete technical overhaul; the Royal Arcade has been enhanced to offer an elevated shopping experience; and the outdoor decks have new furniture with a new layout on the Sun Deck.

Cunard continues its partnership with Rocky Mountaineer, offering pre- and post-cruise tours on the famous railroad. Tours include either three- to five-nights' accommodation, plus two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery with glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, through winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels. Highlights include the Continental Divide, Kicking Horse Canyon, Spiral Tunnels and the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon.

Guests will also be able to take advantage of the three-night pre-cruise tour Vancouver and Whistler Highlights, taking in the best of Vancouver including Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park, and a full day in Whistler and Shannon Falls via the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.

Six Holland America Line Ships Set to Explore Europe in 2020
Guests looking to explore the fjords of Norway, castles of the British Isles, flavors of Italy and beaches of Greece can choose from six Holland America Line ships to discover a wide range of ports and regions on cruise itineraries for the 2020 Europe season. Anchored by the return of Nieuw Amsterdam to the Mediterranean, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam will offer cruises from March through early November.

In addition to transatlantic crossings to and from Europe, the ships will span the entire region on itineraries from seven to 35 days, including the Baltic; British Isles; French and Spanish rivieras; Iberian Peninsula; Iceland; the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, including Norway and the North Cape. Istanbul, Turkey, is back on the schedule with seven overnight visits, and Veendam will offer several distinct and unique European itineraries.

"European cruises are incredibly popular because they are the most affordable and convenient way to visit more cities and countries in one seamless vacation," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "With an expanded season and six ships offering itineraries that cover the entire region, our guests have a wide selection of cruises that showcase the best of each country with the most enriching and immersive experiences."

Roundtrip sailing options from a variety of port cities make for a convenient cruise vacation. Guests can embark at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. Cruises also sail between Barcelona, Spain, and Venice or Civitavecchia.

To offer more in-depth experiences in some of Europe's most popular cities, Holland America Line has scheduled overnight calls at 13 ports, including Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam; Barcelona; Dublin, Ireland; Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul; Lisbon, Portugal; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Reykjavik, Iceland; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Venice; and Valletta, Malta.

Nearly every cruise can be combined with the nonrepeating itinerary coming before and after, allowing guests to see more of Europe with a Holland America Line Collectors' Voyage. Ranging from 14 to 35 days, these artfully crafted longer journeys offer extra time so guests can discover the art, history and culture of different regions in Europe.

Due to strong demand, three ships will offer cruises in Northern Europe from April through September, giving travelers more ways to explore the Norwegian fjords. Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line's newest ship, will return to Northern Europe on seven- and 14-day roundtrip cruises from Amsterdam, while Rotterdam sails seven- and 14-day roundtrip cruises from Rotterdam. Veendam's roundtrip Amsterdam itineraries allow for a more in-depth exploration of the region, with itineraries ranging from 14 to 21 days in length.

The ships will take guests to the most stunning fjords in Norway including Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord, Olsofjord, Eidfjord, Liefdefdfjord, Lilliehöökfjord, Trondheimsfjord and Sognefjord.

When not in Norway, Nieuw Statendam will cruise the Baltic, the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean; Rotterdam will visit the Baltic, British Isles and Iberia; and Veendam will feature memorable cruises to the Baltic, British Isles, Iceland, Iberia and the Holy Land.

In 2020 Zaandam sets sail on the epic 35-day Voyage of the Vikings roundtrip Boston cruise departing July 18. The legendary journey calls at 18 ports in the U.S., Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland, making it easy to visit Europe without international air. Two shorter segments from Boston to Amsterdam (17 days) or from Amsterdam to Boston (18 days) are available.

Holland America Line's Mediterranean cruises are anchored by Nieuw Amsterdam in 2020, which will spend a full season in the region. The ship will offer the popular 12-day Mediterranean Romance, Mediterranean Tapestry and Mediterranean Empires cruises to Greece, Turkey and Italy roundtrip from Venice or between Venice and Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome), as well as the 12-day Adriatic Dream and Greek Odyssey itineraries between Venice and Civitavecchia.

Nieuw Amsterdam will be joined by Zuiderdam from May through June on 12-day itineraries, followed by Nieuw Statendam and Veendam in September and October on cruises ranging from 10 to 14 days. Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Veendam all feature overnight calls to Istanbul and a combined 14 overnights at Venice.

Veendam's season spans April through October and features longer European explorations from 14 to 21 days to a variety of regions. In addition to Norway, highlights of the ship's summer include a European Rivers Explorer cruise to the Scheldt River, Gironde Estuary and Tagus River; the "Holy Land" itinerary to Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Israel; and cruises to Spitsbergen and Iceland.

Guests who enjoy leisurely sea days combined with enriching ports of call have a 19-Day Viking Passage cruise in August and several transatlantic crossings between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Northern Europe or the Mediterranean in the spring and fall. Ranging from 13 to 17 days, the transatlantic cruises feature six or seven consecutive days at sea, where the ships become the destination.

Travelers looking to take in the beauty of the North Atlantic in peak summer can embark Zuiderdam's Viking Passage itinerary from Copenhagen to New York, New York. The ship visits some of the most picturesque ports in Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada, retracing the route the Vikings sailed centuries ago.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Fourth Quarter And Record Full Year Earnings
Carnival Corporation announced U.S. GAAP net income for the full year 2018 of $3.2 billion, or $4.44 diluted EPS, compared to $2.6 billion, or $3.59 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Full year 2018 adjusted net income of $3.0 billion, or $4.26 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $2.8 billion, or $3.82 adjusted EPS, for the full year 2017. Adjusted net income excludes for the full year 2018 unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net gains, totaling $123 million in net gains and for the full year 2017 unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives of $227 million in net gains and impairments and other net charges of $390 million. Revenues for the full year 2018 were $18.9 billion, $1.4 billion higher than the $17.5 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "We delivered strong fourth quarter earnings and record adjusted fourth quarter earnings to top off a record breaking year. In 2018, we grew net cruise revenue (constant currency) over five percent, achieving the highest revenue yields (constant currency) in our company's history, and producing double-digit adjusted earnings growth despite a significant drag from fuel and currency. More importantly, we achieved double-digit return on invested capital in line with the target we established five years ago. I thank our 120,000 team members around the globe who encountered multiple headwinds and still delivered for our shareholders a more than doubling of return on invested capital in just five years, as well as our valued travel agent partners whose strong support enabled these record results."

Key information for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017:

• U.S. GAAP net income for 4Q 2018 of $494 million, or $0.71 diluted EPS, compared to $546 million or $0.76 diluted EPS, for the prior year. On an adjusted basis, 4Q 2018 net income of $492 million, or $0.70 EPS, compared to net income of $452 million, or $0.63 EPS, for the prior year. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $2 million in net gains for 4Q 2018 and $94 million of net gains for 4Q 2017.

• Gross cruise revenues for 4Q 2018 of $4.4 billion compared to $4.2 billion for the prior year, an increase of 4.3 percent. In constant currency, net cruise revenues of $3.7 billion compared to $3.5 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent.

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 1.9 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 3.7 percent for 4Q 2018, better than September guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 2.4 percent. In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD decreased 0.5 percent, compared to September guidance of down 1.0 to 2.0 percent.

• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates decreased earnings by $0.13 per share.

Highlights during the fourth quarter included the delivery of Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam in November 2018. The company acquired a minority interest in CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited, a China-based cruise company which will operate its own fleet designed to serve the Chinese market. In connection with the acquisition, Costa Cruises announced the sale to the joint venture of Costa Atlantica, which will leave the fleet by the end of 2019, followed by Costa Mediterranea at a later date. Carnival Cruise Line announced a dry dock that will transform Carnival Victory to Carnival Radiance, representing the final phase of an extensive fleet enhancement program. Also during the quarter, the company's CSMART Academy was recognized for excellence in maritime safety training by SAFETY4SEA, further validating the company's commitment to safety as its top priority.

2019 Outlook

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for full year 2019 are considerably ahead of the prior year at prices that are in line with the prior year. Pricing on bookings taken since September has been running in line on a comparable basis to the prior year while booking volumes are significantly higher compared to the prior year. As a result, even with higher capacity, there is less inventory remaining for sale than at the same time last year.

Donald commented, "Based on continued strength in underlying fundamentals, we are poised to deliver another year of strong revenue and earnings growth, with booking volumes running significantly ahead of our higher capacity growth and net revenue yields expected to exceed last year's record levels (constant currency). We remain committed to driving demand in excess of measured capacity growth to continue the momentum into 2019 and beyond."

Based on current booking trends, the company expects full year 2019 constant currency net cruise revenues to be up approximately 5.5 percent, with capacity growth of 4.6 percent, and net revenue yields in constant currency expected to be up approximately 1.0 percent compared to the prior year. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 0.5 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates are expected to increase earnings by $0.14 per share compared to the prior year. Voyage cancellations due to the delayed delivery of AIDAnova have impacted 2019 earnings by $0.04 per share.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2019 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.50 to $4.80, compared to 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $4.26.

Donald added, "Based on the foundation we have put in place we are well positioned to continue to drive shareholder returns as we execute along a path toward growing earnings and return on invested capital over time. We remain committed to the continued distribution of cash to shareholders through increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.4 billion annually, and opportunistic share repurchases, which have reached $4.6 billion since late 2015."

First Quarter 2019 Outlook

First quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be flat with the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the first quarter of 2019 are expected to increase by approximately 2.0 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and changes in currency exchange rates compared to prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.03 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter 2019 to be in the range of $0.40 to $0.44 versus 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $0.52.

AIDAnova Makes Maiden Call in the Canary Islands as World's First Cruise Vessel Powered by LNG
Carnival Corporation yesterday celebrated the start of its operation of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Cruise Terminal in the Canary Islands with the maiden call of AIDAnova. The newest ship from Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises brand, Germany's leading cruise line, AIDAnova is the world's first cruise vessel to be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

In advance of today's celebration, Carnival Corporation recently announced an agreement with the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife to be the first concession-holder to operate the Canary Islands' and Mid Atlantic´s newest cruise terminal.

Directly following the arrival of AIDAnova on the afternoon of Dec. 18, AIDA Cruises' president, Felix Eichhorn, welcomed Fernando Clavijo Batlle, president of the Canary Islands, and Pedro Suárez López de Vergara, president of the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as one of the first guests on board to participate in the cruise industry's traditional plaque exchange, marking a ship's first visit to a port.

"We are looking forward to a successful premiere season in the Canary Islands," said Eichhorn. "AIDAnova is a milestone for our company and the entire cruise industry by offering entirely new vacation experiences. With our new ship, we will contribute to further economic growth of the local tourism and maritime industry. With an extraordinary variety of individual vacation options on board and ashore, we are providing new and exciting reasons for people to enjoy a cruise vacation, one of the vacation industry's fastest-growing sectors. Furthermore, with our pioneering LNG technology, we start a new era of even more environmentally friendly cruising."

The new Santa Cruz de Tenerife Cruise Terminal concession in the Canary Islands operated by Carnival Corporation offers passengers a comfortable experience and modern conveniences, and can accommodate next-generation "green" cruise ships powered by LNG, including AIDAnova. The first LNG supply for AIDAnova at the port took place upon its arrival, made possible by a supply agreement signed in 2016 between Carnival Corporation and Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell) to contribute to a robust and reliable LNG fuel supply chain.

"We at Carnival Corporation are strongly committed to leading the way in the implementation of innovations to help protect the environment and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and we are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry," said Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation. "One of the keys to establishing LNG as an industry standard for powering cruise ships is building an extensive, safe and reliable infrastructure for the fuel across the globe, and we look forward to working closely with Shell to support that effort. The first LNG supply of AIDAnova here in the Canary Islands, only achieved with the active support of the local port authorities, is the start of building a strong foundation for the future of LNG fuel supply for cruise ships across the globe."

In total, following AIDAnova, Carnival Corporation has an additional 10 next-generation "green" cruise ships on order that will be powered by LNG in port and at sea, with expected delivery dates between 2019 and 2025, leading the cruise industry's use of LNG to power cruise ships.

"We are proud to be supplying LNG for the world's first LNG-powered cruise ship," said Tahir Faruqui, general manager, Shell global downstream LNG. "This milestone is a further demonstration of our strength in providing the expertise and infrastructure required to encourage greater use of lower emissions fuels in marine transport. Carnival Corporation has led by example and put itself at the forefront of the sector by using LNG. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the industry to demonstrate a robust and reliable LNG fuel supply chain in the years to come."

AIDAnova today welcomed its inaugural guests in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, for the first seven-day holiday cruise around the Canary Islands and Madeira.

Carnival Corporation guests who visit Tenerife can take advantage of a variety of popular shore excursions, including whale and dolphin watching, visiting the historic district of La Laguna – the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the Canary Islands – and exploring natural attractions such as the Gardens of La Orotava Valley, the Anaga Biosphere Reserve or the Mount El Teide in the National Park, home to Spain's highest peak and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

''We have a long history of working with Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands," said Clavijo. "We appreciate their strong commitment to our great port, city and the Canary Islands, and we are pleased about the new concession in the cruise terminal and the maiden call of AIDAnova, which is already establishing new ground as the first LNG ship. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with Carnival Corporation and its leading cruise brands, including AIDA Cruises, and we look forward to growing this partnership further in the years to come."

"The arrival of Carnival Corporation and its cruise lines to the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the materialization of a momentous advancement to bring the city to the port," said Suárez. "The tourist development of Santa Cruz will be possible during the next years thanks to the activity of her port. In this sense, thanks in part to Carnival Corporation ships, the cruise market generated an economic impact to the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the city of Santa Cruz of €24 million ($27.1 million) in the 2018 cruise season, an increase of €6m from the 2017 cruise season."

Suárez continued: "The policy of environmental respect is one of our pillars and the arrival of next-generation 'green' cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) is among the priorities of our roadmap for the next years."

Welcoming 617,987 cruise passengers in 2017, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Canary Islands, the seven-island Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa and Spain, and the first to attract an investment by a major cruise company. The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member, is a very active member of MedCruise, the leading cruise port association worldwide, and it has been a Cruises Atlantic Islands founding member since 1994.

Seven brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises UK – make port calls to Tenerife during the course of the year. Carnival Corporation expects to bring more than 300,000 passenger visits to the port in 2018 – half of all cruise passenger visits – with 130 calls by 31 different ships from the company's cruise line brands.

Carnival Cruise Line To Offer First-Ever Series Of Voyages From San Francisco
Carnival Cruise Line today announced that for the first time, it will offer a series of cruises from San Francisco, with Carnival Miracle operating a diverse schedule that includes four- to 15-day voyages to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico in 2020.

Following strong reception to a previously announced program from San Diego in 2019, Carnival Miracle will also return to the port for a winter 2020-21 schedule of three- to 15-day voyages.

These deployments further bolster Carnival Cruise Line's position as the West Coast cruise leader, carrying more passengers than any other cruise operator. That number will continue to increase with the debut of Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in December 2019, the first new Carnival ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

With the addition of San Francisco, Carnival operates from 19 North American homeports, providing a convenient and cost-effective means for its guests to get to and from their cruises. Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a five-hour drive of a Carnival homeport.

"Carnival is the number one cruise operator from the West Coast, and these new programs from San Francisco and San Diego, as well as the deployment of the brand new Carnival Panorama from Long Beach, speaks volumes to our confidence in growing this important market," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival's first-ever schedule from San Francisco kicks off March 19, 2020 aboard Carnival Miracle, and will include four-day long weekend voyages to Ensenada departing Thursdays and returning Mondays throughout the spring and summer, as well as five-day and six-day cruises to Ensenada, Catalina Island and San Diego in the spring.

The ship will also offer a summer schedule of 10-day Alaska cruises round-trip from San Francisco featuring a variety of popular destinations throughout the Last Frontier, including Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point as well as opportunities to visit Sitka and cruise Tracy Arm Fjord. There's also a special one-time 11-day Alaska cruise departing Aug. 9, 2020.

A 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruise round-trip from San Francisco departs April 16, 2020, calling at awe-inspiring destinations across the Aloha State, including Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai, as well as a stop in Ensenada.

Prior to its West Coast deployment, Carnival Miracle will offer a 17-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit March 2-19, 2020, calling at Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; and Limon, Costa Rica prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique local culinary and entertainment experiences as well as special activities, including a 1980s-themed Throwback Sea Day.

Carnival Miracle will operate a winter schedule of voyages from San Diego beginning Oct. 4, 2020. The program includes convenient three-day getaways to Ensenada, four-day sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island, and five-day departures that spend two full days in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

Also offered are four 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruises round-trip from San Diego departing Oct. 16 and Nov. 28, 2020, and Jan. 9 and Feb. 20, 2021. Featured ports include Hilo, Kona, Kauai (Nawiliwili), Maui (Kahului) and Honolulu, as well as stop in Ensenada, providing guests with a variety of landside experiences in this tropical Polynesian paradise.

New Wine Menu Onboard Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is setting a new standard for the best wine list in the cruise industry with a newly reimagined wine menu, offering nearly 50 percent more selections for a total of 142 wines, the most extensive in the cruise line's history, carefully selected in partnership with Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Doug Frost.

Frost is one of four individuals in the world to hold simultaneously the Master of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) titles, achieving his MS in 1991 and MW in 1993. He was the second person in history to complete both exams and 25 years later his is still one of only four people in the world to have achieved both of these remarkable distinctions.

The Princess Cruises beverage team, along with Frost, established a new wine philosophy that centers on exploration, discovery and enrichment. With quality and global diversity in mind, the new wine menu, available in the main dining rooms fleet wide, is also approachable, with 30 percent of the list priced at $39 and under and 66 percent at $49 or less. Descriptions on the list also make it easy for occasional wine drinkers to select. For example, white wines are designated as "refreshing," "light and mild," "fruity and vibrant" and "rich and textured."

"Princess guests have a passion for culinary travel so our goal in creating this new wine menu was to find fascinating wines from some of the memorable destinations Princess visits," said Frost. "This way guests can return from shore and still experience local tastes with exciting wines at all price points. Plus, what better way to celebrate any occasion than with a special bottle of wine that can be shared with friends and loved ones on a cruise."

The new wine list has expanded regional representations from around the world by a staggering 56 percent and adding 42 percent more grape varietals than existed previously. Emerging gems, such as Ao Yun Cabernet Sauvignon from China, along with elites such as Lafite, Petrus, Grange, Masseto and others round out the offerings.

Selections like Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and an opportunity to explore varietals that are noteworthy – like Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon from South Australia and often the exceptional – a Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, offer guests an unrivaled value. The complete wine list can be found here.

Guests who purchase the Premier Beverage Package benefit from a 25 percent discount off bottles of wine in the main dining room. More information can be found here.

In addition to the new wine menu, Princess Cruises is rolling out six new beverage menus at The Sanctuary, Pool Deck, Wheelhouse Bar, Crooners, Explorer's Lounge and a general menu offering 13 drinks created by Master Mixologist Floyd. And, guests can enjoy 20 new high-end and exotic spirits, some of which reflect the cruise line's exotic destinations, and 17 new international and craft beers, as well as 39 new wines by the glass, also inspired by the cruise line's itineraries.

Speedcast and Carnival Renew Contract
Speedcast International Limited (ASX: SDA), the world's most trusted provider of remote communication and IT solutions, today announced that it has signed a new contract, with multi-year extension options, with Carnival Corporation. Speedcast will provide remote communications and value-added services across the company's global fleet of cruise ships. The three-year material contract is expected to generate 8-9% of expected full year 2019 revenue.

Speedcast has been delivering communications services to over 100 cruise ships across the various Carnival brands since 2013. With this new contract, Carnival increases its investment in communications, with bandwidth delivered to the fleet increased significantly in order to provide its guests with a high-quality internet experience. Speedcast is leveraging 40 satellites, including High Throughput Satellites (HTS), across C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band spectrums and 20 teleports to deliver the largest dedicated maritime satellite network in the world.

The connectivity experience is managed and enhanced by a unique and innovative centrally-orchestrated intelligent automation system called Speedcast TrueBeam. Speedcast TrueBeam is the result of a four-year development program at Speedcast, and is being launched operationally for the first time. TrueBeam gives ships anywhere in the world the ability to seamlessly maintain communications, even while moving in and out of a satellite beam's coverage area. The system incorporates intelligence that understands, predicts and mitigates known satellite communication challenges, such as rain fade, line of sight blockage and network congestion. TrueBeam is critical when using the small beams of HTS, which can require multiple beam switches per day. The TrueBeam system analyzes network availability, capacity, bands, and other key data points across networks and is able to make intelligent decisions without manual interaction. It is the first system of its kind that is able to centralize the planning and switching of a remote network of this size and scale.

Speedcast's services also include an extensive global terrestrial backhaul network to carry data traffic to the internet and back to Carnival's key operations data centers. Speedcast will also implement the latest network optimization technologies from Xiplink to help enable an enhanced guest experience.

Beyond connectivity, Speedcast will provide an enhanced suite of value-added services including voice services and support for the growing demand for data-rich applications and streaming from personal devices while onboard.

Speedcast's 24/7 Technical Support Centers on five continents, a dedicated service delivery team and over 250 field engineers globally will ensure the operation and maintenance of the network to deliver a high degree of service availability.

"Speedcast is thrilled and proud to continue this partnership with Carnival as its trusted provider for communications," says PJ Beylier, Speedcast CEO. "I would like to thank the entire Carnival team for their trust and look forward to continuously raising the bar together with Carnival to deliver an industry-leading communications guest experience in the cruise industry, just as we did earlier in the year delivering world record-setting bandwidth to the Carnival Horizon. The continuation of our partnership with Carnival, following a very competitive process, is a testament to Speedcast's unique capabilities, demonstrates our ability to innovate and adapt to fast-evolving customer needs and is confirmation of our leadership position in the cruise sector."

"Carnival Corporation looks forward to continuing our relationship with Speedcast to enable industry-leading connectivity onboard our ships to enhance the guest experience beyond what we are offering today," says Reza Rasoulian, VP of Global Connectivity for Carnival.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 46.21 - 17.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 89.48 - 15.86%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.34 + 6.35%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.55 - 16.10%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - The former cruise ship was Norwegian Cruise Line's Norway.
courtesy of Bruce A. McKenzie, Guam USA


Cruise News - December 17, 2018

Carnival Mardi Gras To Offer First-Ever Roller Coaster At Sea
Get ready to ride! In another cruise industry first, Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras will feature the first-ever roller coaster at sea when it debuts in 2020, providing an unforgettable and unique open-air thrill ride on the line's newest and most innovative ship.

Built by Munich-based Maurer Rides, BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster is a heart-pounding rush of adrenaline offering nearly 800 feet of exhilarating twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.

Taking cruise industry innovation to new heights, BOLT is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187 feet above sea level, enabling guests to experience the sea in an exciting new way with breathtaking 360-degree views.

BOLT begins with an action-packed launch where riders can achieve race car-like levels of acceleration and culminates with a high-powered hair-pin turn around Carnival's iconic funnel. Riders' speeds are posted after the race, and just like land-based roller coasters, guests have their photo taken during the ride for a memorable keepsake. And since guests choose their own speed, each ride is unique.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said that BOLT is the cornerstone of innovations and features being designed for Mardi Gras, which will be the ultimate playground at sea for fun seekers of all ages.

"Mardi Gras will be our most innovative ship ever with some truly special features and attractions, highlighted by BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea," said Duffy. "BOLT will continue the tradition of Carnival providing exciting new ways for our guests to 'Choose Fun.' We are so thrilled to introduce this one-of-a-kind, game-changing, exhilarating attraction – our guests are going to love it!"

Mardi Gras will be based in Port Canaveral, Fla., which will feature a new state-of-the-art terminal. Itinerary information will be revealed early next month with additional details about Mardi Gras' groundbreaking features announced throughout the year. A second XL-class ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line's founding.

Holland America Line Announces Grand Opening of Rudi's Sel de Mer Restaurant on Nieuw Statendam
Following the official handover of Nieuw Statendam on Nov. 29, 2018, Holland America Line celebrated the opening of Rudi's Sel de Mer on board Nieuw Statendam with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Line's world-renowned Master Chef and the venue's namesake, performed the honor of officially opening the venue and welcoming its first guests, an exclusive list that included Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK Stein Kruse, Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford and the entire culinary service crew on board the ship.

The popular Sel de Mer restaurant first launched in 2016 on board Koningsdam and was later introduced as a pop-up restaurant on all Holland America Line ships under the name Rudi's Sel de Mer. Following a mid-December 2018 dry dock, Koningsdam's restaurant will then also bear the name Rudi's Sel de Mer.

"Since opening on Koningsdam, Sel de Mer has garnered both guest and industry acclaim, and we're excited to introduce the first restaurant to bear Master Chef Rudi Sodamin's name and commemorate the grand opening as part of the launch celebrations for Nieuw Statendam," said Ashford. "Congratulations to Rudi and his entire team on creating a culinary and experiential masterpiece for our guests."

"When developing the concept of Rudi's Sel de Mer, I aimed to make it one of the finest restaurants at sea that would rival the best French-inspired brasseries in the world, and I am proud of the work that went into making it a success," said Sodamin. "This ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Rudi's Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam is a very special memory, and it was an honor to celebrate with everyone. I am very pleased to bring global culinary expertise to the prestigious Holland America Line brand and have my name on the list of chef-branded restaurants in the cruise industry."

Serving a classic selection of French seafood dishes with a contemporary twist, Rudi's Sel de Mer offers an à la carte menu featuring new items as well as popular dishes beloved by guests. Cruisers can select appetizers including Steak Tartare, Rudi's Seafood Tower and the classic Fruits de Mer.

For an entrée, guests can dine on Broiled Lobster Tail, Whole Dover Sole Meunière, Clams au Beurre, Duck Cassoulet, Steak Frites, Soufflé au Fromage and the popular Salt Crust Baked Branzino. The menu also features a daily special and delectable side dishes.

No meal at Rudi's Sel de Mer would be complete without dessert. Choices include Rudi's Face to Face Chocolate, Crêpes Suzette, Apple Tarte Tatin, Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Sauce, Artisanal French Cheese Plate and Rudi's famed Soufflé – a version of the Salzburger Nockerl of his home country, Austria.

An internationally respected food authority, Rudi Sodamin is the most highly decorated chef working on the world's oceans today and is considered among the hospitality industry's most innovative chefs. As Holland America Line's culinary consultant, he is the chairman and driving force behind the line's Culinary Council, a game-changing collaboration of seven world-class chefs guiding the culinary offerings on board and sharing their specialty menu items in all dining venues. He has earned numerous awards for his creative approach and is credited with innovations that continue to improve the standards industry-wide and led the development of fine dining at Holland America Line. Sodamin has authored 13 cookbooks and is a member of the prestigious Academy Culinaire de France, the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France and an honoree member of the noble Club des Chefs des Chefs, whose members cook for presidents, kings and prime ministers.

Chef Rudi is also known as a culinary pop-artist and has created Food Faces art for the exclusive show plates in Rudi's Sel de Mer. Made by Bernardaud, the leading French manufacturer of Limoges porcelain, each plate charger features a different Food Faces image, creating a table setting unlike any found anywhere in the world.

The art mural in Rudi's Sel de Mer has been painted by Chef Sodamin's son, Magnus Sodamin, and is entitled "Luscious Garden." Magnus is a Miami-based emerging artist.

Nieuw Statendam set sail on its Premier Voyage Dec. 5 from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Carnival Cruise Line To Offer First-Ever Series Of Voyages From San Francisco
Carnival Cruise Line today announced that for the first time, it will offer a series of cruises from San Francisco, with Carnival Miracle operating a diverse schedule that includes four- to 15-day voyages to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico in 2020.

Following strong reception to a previously announced program from San Diego in 2019, Carnival Miracle will also return to the port for a winter 2020-21 schedule of three- to 15-day voyages.

These deployments further bolster Carnival Cruise Line's position as the West Coast cruise leader, carrying more passengers than any other cruise operator. That number will continue to increase with the debut of Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in December 2019, the first new Carnival ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

With the addition of San Francisco, Carnival operates from 19 North American homeports, providing a convenient and cost-effective means for its guests to get to and from their cruises. Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a five-hour drive of a Carnival homeport.

"Carnival is the number one cruise operator from the West Coast, and these new programs from San Francisco and San Diego, as well as the deployment of the brand new Carnival Panorama from Long Beach, speaks volumes to our confidence in growing this important market," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival's first-ever schedule from San Francisco kicks off March 19, 2020 aboard Carnival Miracle, and will include four-day long weekend voyages to Ensenada departing Thursdays and returning Mondays throughout the spring and summer, as well as five-day and six-day cruises to Ensenada, Catalina Island and San Diego in the spring.

The ship will also offer a summer schedule of 10-day Alaska cruises round-trip from San Francisco featuring a variety of popular destinations throughout the Last Frontier, including Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait Point as well as opportunities to visit Sitka and cruise Tracy Arm Fjord. There's also a special one-time 11-day Alaska cruise departing Aug. 9, 2020.

A 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruise round-trip from San Francisco departs April 16, 2020, calling at awe-inspiring destinations across the Aloha State, including Maui (Kahului), Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai, as well as a stop in Ensenada.

Prior to its West Coast deployment, Carnival Miracle will offer a 17-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal transit March 2-19, 2020, calling at Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; and Limon, Costa Rica prior to the Panama Canal transit followed by calls at Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique local culinary and entertainment experiences as well as special activities, including a 1980s-themed Throwback Sea Day.

Carnival Miracle will operate a winter schedule of voyages from San Diego beginning Oct. 4, 2020. The program includes convenient three-day getaways to Ensenada, four-day sailings to Ensenada and Catalina Island, and five-day departures that spend two full days in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

Also offered are four 15-day Carnival Journeys Hawaii cruises round-trip from San Diego departing Oct. 16 and Nov. 28, 2020, and Jan. 9 and Feb. 20, 2021. Featured ports include Hilo, Kona, Kauai (Nawiliwili), Maui (Kahului) and Honolulu, as well as stop in Ensenada, providing guests with a variety of landside experiences in this tropical Polynesian paradise.

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Winter 2020-2021 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line, revealed its winter 2020/2021 itineraries. Highlights include sister ships, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Encore, sailing from Miami to the Caribbean; Norwegian Escape’s debut in Port Canaveral; and Norwegian Epic’s return to San Juan.

“We are so pleased with the variety of itineraries we are providing, including positioning sister ships, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Encore, to sail from the Cruise Capital of the World, where we can showcase the ship’s stand-out amenities to thousands of guests each week,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Norwegian Joy will set sail from Miami for the first time and cruise a mix of five-to-seven-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages. Beginning Oct. 24, the ship’s Western Caribbean cruises will include calls to Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico while its Eastern Caribbean voyages will include Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and the company’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

Following her first summer season in the Big Apple, Norwegian Encore will return to Miami to sail seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean with calls to Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. She will also sail 12-to-13-day cruises through the Panama Canal, with visits to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

For the first time, beginning Nov. 21, Norwegian Escape will homeport in Port Canaveral, sailing five-and-seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries with calls to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The ship will also sail two, four-day Bahamas cruises with visits to Nassau, Freeport and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Following her summer season in Miami, Norwegian Breakaway will return to New Orleans on November 22, cruising seven-day voyages to the Western Caribbean with calls to Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Beginning Dec. 20, Norwegian Epic returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico to sail seven-day cruises to the crystal blue waters of the Southern Caribbean with visits to Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Kralendijk, Bonaire.

Also beginning in December, Norwegian Getaway will sail select seven-and-eight-day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida from New York which will include calls to Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The ship will also cruise five-day Eastern Caribbean voyages out of Miami, with stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas as well as seven-day Western Caribbean cruises with calls to Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

As of Nov. 30, Norwegian Gem will return to New York cruising a variety of 10,11,12 and 14-day Southern Caribbean voyages with calls to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. Maarten, Netherlands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Norwegian Jade will call Tampa, Fla. her home beginning Nov. 22 and will sail a variety of Western and Southern Caribbean cruises through April 11. Seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean will include calls to Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico while Southern Caribbean cruises will visit George Town, Cayman Islands; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. John’s, Antigua; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Norwegian Pearl will also sail a mix of Western and Southern Caribbean cruises as well as Panama Canal and Bahamas itineraries from Miami beginning Nov. 4. The ship’s five-day Western Caribbean voyages will include visits to Harvest Caye, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Norwegian Pearl’s 11-day Panama Canal cruises will sail to Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatan Island, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Her 14-day voyage to the Southern Caribbean will stop in Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. John’s, Antigua; St. Maarten, Netherlands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The ship’s four-day Bahamas cruise will include visits to Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.

Beginning Oct. 18, Norwegian Bliss will return to Los Angeles to sail an array of voyages including five-to-seven-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera with visits to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Ensenada. She will embark on select 16-day Panama Canal cruises from Los Angeles to Miami and back, featuring calls to Santa Marta and Cartagena, Colombia; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While in Miami, she will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyages with stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Recently renovated with bow-to-stern enhancements, Norwegian Jewel will embark on Australia and New Zealand cruises beginning Oct. 9. Her popular Australia and New Zealand cruises will visit some of New Zealand’s most beautiful destinations including Milford Sound, Doubtful Fjord, Dusky Fjord, Dunedin, Picton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Bay of Islands and Auckland.

Beginning Dec. 19, Norwegian Star will sail 14-day South American cruises with calls to Montevideo and Punta Del Este, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Cape Horn, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt, Chile.

Los Angeles Begins 100 Day Countdown to Royal Princess Arrival
In just 100 days, the Port of Los Angeles will welcome a Royal Princess – that is, the 3,560-guest Princess Cruises ship – taking guests to sought-after destinations including Mexico, the California Coast and Alaska. Royal Princess just completed a multi-million-dollar refurbishment including several new features and is officially ready to offer West Coasters convenient, roundtrip Los Angeles cruises starting March 23, 2019.

"We've been sailing from the Port of Los Angeles longer than any other cruise line, starting with one ship to Mexico in 1965," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Then, millions of viewers tuned in on Saturday nights to watch "The Love Boat" and its ocean-going co-star, Pacific Princess, sail from Los Angeles offering romance and adventure on the high seas. Now we're beginning a new chapter, more than 50 years later, with the arrival of Royal Princess and our biggest West Coast season yet, featuring one of our newest and most elegant ships in our global fleet."

Royal Princess just completed a renovation and received several new features, including:

• Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Royal Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. The plush bed offers the ultimate night of sleep at sea combining the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design and recently received the highest ranking for "Best Cruise Ship Beds" by Cruise Critic.

• Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, new equipment is now available in salon and treatment rooms and the latest in fitness machines is now available.

In addition, guests will be thoroughly entertained while sailing aboard Royal Princess with the following top-rated production shows performed live in the Princess Theater:

• The Secret Silk – the newest production show developed in partnership with award-winning composer of "Wicked," "Godspell" and "Pippin" – Stephen Schwartz. Along with Schwartz's cadre of Broadway talent, "The Secret Silk" was created and directed by John Tartaglia, a star of Broadway hits such as "Avenue Q" and includes life-size puppetry from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, featuring dance and special effects that transports guests to a mythical realm.

• Encore – inspired by the cruise line's top-rated show, "Bravo!" and accompanied by an impressive onstage orchestra, "Encore" celebrates the traditions of pop, opera and musical theater. The show was directed and choreographed by Disney Channel Creative Director Danny Teeson, with musical direction by Academy Awards Arranger Nelson Kole and set design by Emmy award-winner John Iacovelli.

• On the top deck, Watercolor Fantasy captivates guests as brightly colored lights illuminate the water offering a show of waltzes, pirouettes and fountains shooting water up to 33 feet high all choreographed to music.

Princess Cruises was recently recognized with the "Best Cruises from the West Coast" by Cruise Critic and Royal Princess will sail on a series of cruises from Los Angeles (San Pedro) to the Mexican Riviera with port calls in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, giving cruisers the chance to experience the local vibrant culture and flavors.

Carnival Corporation Will Launch Four New Ships in 2019
Carnival Corporation today announced it will launch four new cruise ships in 2019 across three of its leading global brands – Carnival Cruise Line, America's Cruise Line; Costa Cruises, the largest European cruise operator; and Princess Cruises, the world's largest international premium cruise line.

The world will get a preview of one of these spectacular new vessels when Carnival Cruise Line debuts a floral replica of its new Carnival Panorama sailing down Colorado Boulevard in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day, beginning a year-long celebration of its first new ship based in California in 20 years, scheduled to begin sailing from its homeport of Long Beach in December 2019. The float will include many of the signature features of the brand's ships – including the red and blue funnel, a water park and Lido Deck party – as well as the line's newest feature, the first-ever trampoline park at sea, in partnership with industry leader Sky Zone.

Additionally, as a replica of the Carnival AirShip flies over the float, fitness enthusiasts will be jumping into the fun on a Sky Zone trampoline built directly into the front of the float. And celebrating its role as the cruise line that carries the most military personnel, Carnival Cruise Line's float also salutes the brave men and women of the Armed Forces with a special appearance by former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, godmother of Carnival Panorama's sister ship, Carnival Vista, and the first active member of the military to serve as Miss USA.

The new vessels also include Sky Princess, Princess Cruises' fourth Royal-class ship; and Costa Smeralda, the second of Carnival Corporation's total of 11 new ships joining the fleet between 2018 and 2025 that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) both in port and at sea; as well as Costa Venezia, Costa Cruises' first ship designed and built specifically for the China market.

The four ships are part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing fleet enhancement strategy with 20 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2019 and 2025 – creating excitement in the vacation market and helping the company's brands continue to provide a great vacation experience while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry.

These new ships build on the success of Carnival Corporation's four ships launched in 2018, which include Carnival Horizon from Carnival Cruise Line, Seabourn Ovation from Seabourn, ms Nieuw Statendam from Holland America Line and most recently, AIDAnova – the world's first cruise ship that can be powered by LNG both in port and at sea – from AIDA Cruises.

"Each launch of a new ship generates lots of interest and excitement among consumers, whether they are among our many loyal guests or they are new to cruising," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "Our four new ships in 2019 will be no exception as our brands will introduce spectacular new vessels that have been designed with one purpose in mind: to dazzle our guests as they enjoy an extraordinary vacation experience."

Carnival Corporation's four new cruise ship additions for 2019 include:

Carnival Panorama from Carnival Cruise Line – Expected Launch Date in December 2019
When the new Carnival Panorama arrives in Long Beach next December, it will become the brand's first new ship to homeport in California in 20 years, sailing year-round voyages from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal to the Mexican Riviera.

On January 1, 2019, Carnival Cruise Line will preview a floral replica of the ship to 700,000 spectators at the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, as well as a worldwide television audience of more than 80 million parade fans. With tens of thousands of flower petals meticulously applied by hand, the float's signature touches will include flowers from more than 100 countries to represent the number of nations that the brand's employees hail from, as well as fitness enthusiasts jumping into the fun on a Sky Zone trampoline taking center stage on the 55-foot-long float.

The 4,008-passenger, 133,500-ton Carnival Panorama is the third in the line's highly successful Vista-class series, the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line, which includes Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon. The three ships are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea. Carnival Panorama will feature a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences for a unique seagoing vacation, including popular features such as the tropics-inspired Havana section, Family Harbor with extra-roomy staterooms and the Family Harbor Lounge, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and the SportSquare recreation area.

Carnival Panorama is scheduled to debut on December 11, 2019, with a special three-day inaugural cruise from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which is housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once served as home to Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane. Most California residents and the surrounding area live within a day's drive of the port. Year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises begin December 14, departing Long Beach every Saturday to stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.

Sky Princess from Princess Cruises – Expected Launch Date in October 2019
Sky Princess will carry 3,660 guests and include the best of the stunning features found on its three Royal-class sister ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships' designs, with new innovations designed to exceed guests' expectations.

New to Sky Princess are spectacular Sky Suites, centrally located on the top deck. Measuring 700 square feet and with a 270-degree panorama, the suites feature the largest private balconies at sea with a prime view of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen. Sky Suites have sleeping capacity for five guests and plenty of room for entertaining, making them ideal for families and celebrations.

The 143,700-ton Sky Princess is designed to offer more ways for guests to unwind, with a new contemporary design for its relaxing adults-only Sanctuary area, and twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships. Also new for Sky Princess will be the addition of a Wakeview pool on its aft decks, plus two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool and more Jacuzzis than previous Royal-Class ships, including two cantilevered over the deep-tank pools.

Other ship highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, the iconic Seawalk, Princess Live! entertainment venue with a new café, Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, and a wide variety of guest-favorite dining venues with updated décor and design throughout the ship. Guests will also be able to enjoy the new look of the ship's Vista Lounge complete with a full bar offering, an evolution of the popular lounge on other Princess ships.

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment of Sky Princess is set to feature 10 cruise departures on eight unique itineraries, beginning October 20, 2019, with a seven-day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Barcelona. On November 17, the ship is scheduled to set sail from Barcelona for Fort Lauderdale, where guests will enjoy tropical holidays in the Caribbean before the ship returns to tour Europe beginning in April 2020.

Costa Venezia from Costa Cruises – Expected Launch Date in March 2019
For Costa – the first international cruise brand to serve the China market with a homeported ship in 2006 – everything about Costa Venezia is designed with the Chinese consumers' preference in mind. The brand's first ship built specifically for the China market, Costa Venezia will deliver Costa's authentic Italian experience tailored to its Chinese guests' travel, leisure and entertainment preferences. Guests will also be able to savor fine Italian dining, luxury Italian shopping and world-class Italian entertainment, while enjoying familiar comforts such as a range of Chinese cuisines and Chinese-style karaoke bars.

From its grand atrium modeled on Piazza San Marco to original 'gondolas' made by local artisans and masked parties recreating the famous Carnival of Venice, Costa Venezia will bring the passion of Venetian culture to the Far East when it arrives at its Shanghai homeport. The 135,500-ton, 5,260-passenger Costa Venezia will be Costa Cruises' largest ship operating homeport cruises from China, and will be dedicated to Chinese guests beginning May 2019, offering them an Italian twist on cruise itineraries throughout East Asia.

European and North American guests will be welcomed onboard for the scheduled March 3, 2019, vernissage cruise from Trieste, Italy, to Greece and Croatia, followed on March 8 by a 53-day inaugural cruise, with Costa Venezia setting sail along the route once explored by Marco Polo, making its way through the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Southeast and East Asia before arriving in Shanghai.

Costa Smeralda from Costa Cruises – Expected Launch Date in October 2019
With a name that honors the spectacular Emerald Coast of Sardinia, the stunning features of Costa Smeralda will reflect the best of Italy, delighting guests with a unique travel experience evoking the style, hospitality and warmth of the "bel paese" (the beautiful country). The ship will be Costa Cruises' first that is able to be powered in port and at sea by LNG, the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

The heart of the new flagship will be a centrally-located, three-level domed Colosseo, lined with themed lounge bars, that will feature the best shows each evening. Day or night guests will be drawn to enjoy their morning coffee and evening Campari while admiring the sea through the large glass walls.

The new Costa Cruises flagship will host another unique feature at sea: an onboard museum. The Costa Design Museum – or CoDe – will be dedicated to the excellence of Italian design, showcasing many of the Italian designers and design firms that contributed to the ship's construction and authentic "Made in Italy" décor.

Costa Smeralda guests will have access to 11 restaurants, four swimming pools, a water park with colorful waterslides, a multi-sport gym, disco, jazz club, games room, special areas set aside for kids and a luxurious spa featuring a beauty salon, hammam, thalassotherapy pool, 16 treatment rooms, and snow, salt and relaxation rooms. At 182,700 tons, and with over 2,600 guest rooms, Costa Smeralda will be the largest ship in Costa Cruises' fleet.

The ship is scheduled to make its maiden voyage on October 20, 2019, with a 15-day cruise from Hamburg, with stops in Rotterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Marseille before arriving for a dazzling naming celebration at Savona, in northwest Italy, on November 3.

On November 4, the six-day inaugural cruise is expected to depart from Savona, calling on Barcelona, Marseille and Rome (Civitavecchia). Costa Smeralda will continue to sail in the Western Mediterranean until April 2020, with seven-day cruises calling on Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.

Oasis Of The Seas To Make Big Apple Debut For Royal Caribbean's 2020-21 Deployment
Royal Caribbean International is charting a new course with its 2020-21 deployment plans, touting a fleet of Royal Amplified ships sailing to exciting destinations. An amped up Oasis of the Seas will greet Lady Liberty and deliver new vacations from the Northeast with 7-night Caribbean itineraries that include an unforgettable day at the cruise line's highly anticipated private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas. Oasis will be the first ship in her class and the world's largest to sail from the Northeast. For the first time since 2015, Anthem of the Seas will return to the U.K. to sail alongside Independence of the Seas, marking the cruise line's biggest presence in the region to-date.

Celebrating its one-year anniversary in summer 2020, Perfect Day at CocoCay will welcome 10 ships from more ports than any previous deployment, including newly added Galveston, Texas, as well as Barcelona, Spain on Allure and Rhapsody of the Seas' transatlantic sailings in November 2020. Adventure seekers from around the world will have more opportunity than ever to discover the thrill and chill experiences that await the whole family, including the tallest waterslide in North America, the Caribbean's largest wave pool, and the highest vantage point in The Bahamas from a helium balloon that rises 450 feet in the air. Delivering on its promise of creating memorable vacations on land and on board, Royal Caribbean will tout seven ships in 2020-21 that have emerged from the global cruise line's $1 billion Royal Amplified modernization program launched in 2018, introducing a wide range of bold, new adventures designed to appeal to all ages.

Big news for the Big Apple – Oasis of the Seas, the ship that revolutionized cruise vacations in 2009 with game-changing industry firsts, from the unique seven-neighborhood concept to the iconic AquaTheater performance venue, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation in 2019 and become the first Royal Amplified ship to sail from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., starting in May 2020. Oasis of the Seas will transport travelers to the clear blue waters of The Bahamas all summer with 7-night itineraries, as well as a select number of short cruises north to New England and Canada.

Adventure of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty, sailing a variety of 5- and 9-night summer and fall itineraries to Bermuda, New England and Canada, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Travelers can extend leaf peeping season on Vision of the Seas, which will offer three 10- to 11-night open-jaw itineraries between Bayonne and Quebec City with an overnight in Quebec's capital – a UNESCO World Heritage treasure and North America's only fortified city.

Symphony of the Seas and sister ship Harmony of the Seas, the ultimate family ships, will return to PortMiami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, offering 7-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Both ships will feature visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the ultimate destination for thrill and chill, on nearly all sailings.

Brilliance of the Seas will light up Boston in the fall, sailing 7- to 10-night cruises to Canada starting in September 2020, while Grandeur of the Seas continues to offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England for fall foliage from her year-round homeport in Baltimore, Md. Grandeur will embark on a combination of 5- and 9-night itineraries to Bermuda and The Bahamas in the summer months, and transition to 9-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises for the winter. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book as of Dec. 13, 2018.

In 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico will welcome what will be the newly modernized Freedom of the Seas. The largest ship to ever homeport in San Juan will return for the third consecutive year to sail 7-night itineraries year-round throughout the Southern Caribbean, traveling beyond the typical getaway to exotic destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados. Rounding out the 7-night Caribbean offerings is Liberty of the Seas, which will continue to sail from Galveston to the Western Caribbean ahead of her own highly anticipated amplification in early 2021. The 7-night Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries will be available to book as of Dec. 13, 2018. vNo stranger to Perfect Day at CocoCay, two of Royal Caribbean's Amplified ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will continue to elevate short Caribbean getaways all year with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday itineraries to The Bahamas. Reimagined in 2018, Mariner will continue to sail from Port Canaveral in Orlando, Fla., while an amped up Navigator will remain a resident of Miami, sailing from the cruise line's state-of-the-art Terminal A. Navigator will be the third ship to be reimagined in February 2019, building on the successes of the brand's Royal Amplified fleet modernization program to incorporate a lineup of firsts and Royal Caribbean favorites with new experiences, including an awe-inspiring Caribbean poolscape, two daring waterslides – introducing the longest aqua coaster at sea – the first blow dry bar the industry, elevated nightlife and dining, and thrilling activities. Short Caribbean itineraries are now open to book.

Sharing the Texas-sized spotlight, Enchantment of the Seas will, for the first time from Galveston, offer a lineup of sailings to Perfect Day at CocoCay for adventurous vacationers who want to wrangle first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Enchantment will continue a mix of 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean sailings in the summer, perfect for short getaways and first-time cruise vacationers.

The Old World will get a new spin with Royal Caribbean's summer 2020 deployment. Longtime New York resident, Anthem of the Seas, will make the journey across the Atlantic to Southampton, England returning for the first time in five years. Anthem is set to embark on her biggest adventure yet as the Quantum Class ship visits coastal towns along the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Canary Islands, on 8- to 14-night itineraries. Modernized in 2018, Independence of the Seas will return to Southampton for the season and sail 7- to 14-night cruises around the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and North Africa, Scandinavia & Russia, and Italian Mediterranean, including new destinations Agadir, Morocco and Ponta Delgada in Portugal's Azores archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Vacationers can also revel in the beauty of the Baltic with a 14-night itinerary – a first for a Freedom Class ship – featuring an overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark and two nights in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Royal Amplified will reach the far corners of Europe as Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas debut multimillion-dollar modernizations as they journey across Europe for the 2020 summer and fall seasons to rediscover legendary landmarks, charming coastlines and the diverse cultures. Allure of the Seas will be the first Royal Amplified Oasis Class ship in Europe, offering 7-night Western Mediterranean itineraries that depart from Barcelona. From Rome, the reimagined Explorer will offer a mix of 7- to 12-night sailings along the Greek Isles, uncovering storied temples, amphitheaters and villages.

Vision of the Seas will join Allure in Barcelona for the summer and fall seasons to offer travelers 12-night cruises across the Mediterranean, as Rhapsody of the Seas returns to Venice, Italy for the summer to offer shorter itineraries, alternating between Greece & Croatia and the Greek Isles. Copenhagen will welcome Jewel of the Seas for the season, as the ship sails a mix of 7-night itineraries through the Norwegian Fjords and Scandinavia & Russia. Brilliance of the Seas will return to Amsterdam for a third summer, sailing 12-night Baltic itineraries and a special 12-night sailing around the British Isles. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, adventurers can board Brilliance for a 15-night arctic crossing as the ship repositions from Amsterdam to Boston, Mass. European itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 17, 2018. All itineraries will be open to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.34 - 0.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 106.35 + 1.42%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.26 + 10.53%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.14 - 1.24%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - OCEANIC CONSTITUTION was renamed CONSTITUTION and christened bt HRH Princess Grace of Monaco, who had sailed on the CONSTITUTION to her wedding to Prince Ranier. Princess Grace had christened the CUNARD PRINCESS 5 years earlier in New York.
courtesy of Johnathan Kopp, Berlin, Germany


Cruise News - December 10, 2018

Mardi Gras Selected As Name For Largest Carnival Cruise Line Ship Ever Constructed
In a nod to Carnival Cruise Line's rich history as America's Cruise Line, the line announced today that it will name its new XL-class ship to be delivered in 2020 Mardi Gras, bringing back to the fleet the name of the first Carnival Cruise Line ship that entered service in 1972 and started the wave of cruise vacation popularity in the United States.

In keeping with its tradition of fun, Carnival revealed the name to a nationwide television audience on the popular game show Wheel of Fortune on its signature Puzzleboard at the conclusion of the broadcast.

Mardi Gras will be the largest Carnival Cruise Line ship ever constructed and the first in North America to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), part of Carnival Corporation's green cruising platform. At 180,000 tons, the new Mardi Gras will be more than six times the size of its namesake.

Currently under construction at Meyer Turku in Finland, the 5,200-plus lower berth vessel will offer a variety of never-before-seen innovations and attractions.

Itineraries for Mardi Gras will be announced in January and go on sale later that same month. Carnival Cruise Line fans who want to be the first to book on Mardi Gras can get a head start by clicking here where they can register to get a "first to know" alert and special promotional offer when itineraries are opened for sale.

The original 27,000-ton TSS Mardi Gras, a converted trans-Atlantic ocean liner purchased by entrepreneur and Carnival founder Ted Arison, ushered in the modern-day cruise industry when it set sail on its inaugural voyage in 1972, helping to transform cruising from an experience once reserved for the elite into a mainstream vacation accessible and affordable to everyone.

"Our first ship Mardi Gras was a historic vessel, introducing a brand new style of cruising to the vacationing public. What better way to pay tribute to our company's nearly 50-year history of creating wonderful vacation memories than by naming this groundbreaking vessel after our original and beloved 'Fun Ship,'" said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "The new Mardi Gras will follow the trailblazing lead of her predecessor, introducing features and technological innovations that have never been seen before on a cruise ship while setting a new standard for seagoing vacations."

Carnival previously announced that the ship will be based in Port Canaveral, Fla., which will feature a new state-of-the-art terminal. A second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line's founding.

AIDAnova Is Delivered
Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises welcomed AIDA Cruises' new AIDAnova into its fleet today at a celebration in Bremerhaven, Germany, as the world's first cruise vessel to be powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. AIDAnova becomes Carnival Corporation's fourth new ship of 2018.

"AIDAnova is a milestone for our company and the entire cruise industry," said Michael Thamm, group CEO of Carnival Corporation's Costa Group – which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises – and Carnival Asia. "With Carnival Corporation pioneering LNG technology, we start a new era of environmentally friendly cruising. It's important now that the respective infrastructure will be further developed as more and more cruise lines are following our example."

The largest cruise ship ever built at a German shipyard, AIDAnova also marks an exciting new generation of ships for AIDA Cruises, Germany's leading cruise line. The new vessel combines innovative design, state-of-the-art technology and inspiring on-board features to enhance the vacation experience – including a domed adventure deck, theater with a 360-degree stage, TV studio, more than 20 different stateroom types and 40 different restaurants and bars, giving guests plenty of options for playing, relaxing and enjoying world-class dining.

AIDAnova set sail today for the Canary Islands to welcome its inaugural guests at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, embarking on December 19 for a seven-day holiday cruise around the Canary Islands and Madeira.

"I am so pleased about this extraordinary ship, which is another milestone on our steady path to providing sustainable cruises," said Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises, at today's handover event. "AIDAnova will offer guests entirely new experiences onboard through the further development of the innovative ship designs of AIDAprima and AIDAperla, and many other successful products in the AIDA fleet. With an extraordinary variety of individual vacation options, exciting entertainment and new wellness, fitness and culinary offerings, we are providing new and exciting reasons for people to enjoy a cruise vacation, one of the vacation industry's fastest-growing sectors."

The 40 onboard restaurants and bars include the new Time Machine restaurant, a new seafood restaurant named Ocean's, the Teppanyaki Asia Grill, the Rock Box Bar and more. The Beach Club and Four Elements adventure deck boasts three water slides and a climbing garden under the dome of a retractable glass roof. The Mystery Room brings the thrilling escape room experience to the high seas.

In the new Studio X, AIDA Cruises' first television studio at sea that produces and broadcasts live every day, passengers are invited to watch live cooking shows and game shows. AIDAnova's Theatrium puts showtime on a 360-degree stage, featuring technical marvels that include 11 LED walls and seven different laser shows.

Reflecting an evolving travel market, AIDAnova also offers 20 different stateroom types, ranging from a two-deck penthouse suite to spacious family and patio cabins to comfortable single options with a balcony.

For many years, AIDA Cruises has been a pioneer in the development of alternative modes of energy production on board its ships.

The cruise line began investing in LNG as a propulsion technology more than 10 years ago. With LNG, emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides are almost completely eliminated.

In 2021 and 2023, two additional ships from the new AIDA Cruises generation of vessels will join the AIDA fleet, in addition to new LNG-powered ships on order for Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises in the UK, and Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises in the U.S.

In total, following today's launch of AIDAnova, Carnival Corporation has an additional 10 next-generation "green" cruise ships on order that will be powered by LNG in port and at sea, with expected delivery dates between 2019 and 2025, leading the cruise industry's use of LNG to power cruise ships.

By making history as the first cruise ship to be powered in port and at sea by LNG, AIDAnova underscores Carnival Corporation's longtime role as an industry leader in developing innovative solutions for sustainability, including the environmental technology breakthrough of making its Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) highly functional in the small confines of a cruise ship. Its pioneering Advanced Air Quality Systems, generically known as exhaust gas cleaning systems, are installed on 71 of the company's more than 100 ships.

In addition, over 40 percent of the company's fleet has "cold ironing" capabilities, enabling ships to use shoreside electric power where available while in port. The company has also implemented broad initiatives to optimize onboard energy usage and innovative hull designs and coatings to reduce fuel consumption by minimizing frictional drag.

Oasis Of The Seas To Make Big Apple Debut
Royal Caribbean International is charting a new course with its 2020-21 deployment plans, touting a fleet of Royal Amplified ships sailing to exciting destinations. An amped up Oasis of the Seas will greet Lady Liberty and deliver new vacations from the Northeast with 7-night Caribbean itineraries that include an unforgettable day at the cruise line's highly anticipated private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas. Oasis will be the first ship in her class and the world's largest to sail from the Northeast. For the first time since 2015, Anthem of the Seas will return to the U.K. to sail alongside Independence of the Seas, marking the cruise line's biggest presence in the region to-date.

Celebrating its one-year anniversary in summer 2020, Perfect Day at CocoCay will welcome 10 ships from more ports than any previous deployment, including newly added Galveston, Texas, as well as Barcelona, Spain on Allure and Rhapsody of the Seas' transatlantic sailings in November 2020. Adventure seekers from around the world will have more opportunity than ever to discover the thrill and chill experiences that await the whole family, including the tallest waterslide in North America, the Caribbean's largest wave pool, and the highest vantage point in The Bahamas from a helium balloon that rises 450 feet in the air. Delivering on its promise of creating memorable vacations on land and on board, Royal Caribbean will tout seven ships in 2020-21 that have emerged from the global cruise line's $1 billion Royal Amplified modernization program launched in 2018, introducing a wide range of bold, new adventures designed to appeal to all ages.

Big news for the Big Apple – Oasis of the Seas, the ship that revolutionized cruise vacations in 2009 with game-changing industry firsts, from the unique seven-neighborhood concept to the iconic AquaTheater performance venue, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation in 2019 and become the first Royal Amplified ship to sail from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., starting in May 2020. Oasis of the Seas will transport travelers to the clear blue waters of The Bahamas all summer with 7-night itineraries, as well as a select number of short cruises north to New England and Canada.

Adventure of the Seas will return to Cape Liberty, sailing a variety of 5- and 9-night summer and fall itineraries to Bermuda, New England and Canada, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Travelers can extend leaf peeping season on Vision of the Seas, which will offer three 10- to 11-night open-jaw itineraries between Bayonne and Quebec City with an overnight in Quebec's capital – a UNESCO World Heritage treasure and North America's only fortified city.

Symphony of the Seas and sister ship Harmony of the Seas, the ultimate family ships, will return to PortMiami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, offering 7-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Both ships will feature visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the ultimate destination for thrill and chill, on nearly all sailings.

Brilliance of the Seas will light up Boston in the fall, sailing 7- to 10-night cruises to Canada starting in September 2020, while Grandeur of the Seas continues to offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England for fall foliage from her year-round homeport in Baltimore, Md. Grandeur will embark on a combination of 5- and 9-night itineraries to Bermuda and The Bahamas in the summer months, and transition to 9-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises for the winter. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book as of Dec. 13, 2018.

In 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico will welcome what will be the newly modernized Freedom of the Seas. The largest ship to ever homeport in San Juan will return for the third consecutive year to sail 7-night itineraries year-round throughout the Southern Caribbean, traveling beyond the typical getaway to exotic destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia and Bridgetown, Barbados. Rounding out the 7-night Caribbean offerings is Liberty of the Seas, which will continue to sail from Galveston to the Western Caribbean ahead of her own highly anticipated amplification in early 2021. The 7-night Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries will be available to book as of Dec. 13, 2018.

No stranger to Perfect Day at CocoCay, two of Royal Caribbean's Amplified ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will continue to elevate short Caribbean getaways all year with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday itineraries to The Bahamas. Reimagined in 2018, Mariner will continue to sail from Port Canaveral in Orlando, Fla., while an amped up Navigator will remain a resident of Miami, sailing from the cruise line's state-of-the-art Terminal A. Navigator will be the third ship to be reimagined in February 2019, building on the successes of the brand's Royal Amplified fleet modernization program to incorporate a lineup of firsts and Royal Caribbean favorites with new experiences, including an awe-inspiring Caribbean poolscape, two daring waterslides – introducing the longest aqua coaster at sea – the first blow dry bar the industry, elevated nightlife and dining, and thrilling activities. Short Caribbean itineraries are now open to book.

Sharing the Texas-sized spotlight, Enchantment of the Seas will, for the first time from Galveston, offer a lineup of sailings to Perfect Day at CocoCay for adventurous vacationers who want to wrangle first-time experiences that will top any bucket list. Enchantment will continue a mix of 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean sailings in the summer, perfect for short getaways and first-time cruise vacationers.

The Old World will get a new spin with Royal Caribbean's summer 2020 deployment. Longtime New York resident, Anthem of the Seas, will make the journey across the Atlantic to Southampton, England returning for the first time in five years. Anthem is set to embark on her biggest adventure yet as the Quantum Class ship visits coastal towns along the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Canary Islands, on 8- to 14-night itineraries. Modernized in 2018, Independence of the Seas will return to Southampton for the season and sail 7- to 14-night cruises around the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and North Africa, Scandinavia & Russia, and Italian Mediterranean, including new destinations Agadir, Morocco and Ponta Delgada in Portugal's Azores archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Vacationers can also revel in the beauty of the Baltic with a 14-night itinerary – a first for a Freedom Class ship – featuring an overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark and two nights in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Royal Amplified will reach the far corners of Europe as Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas debut multimillion-dollar modernizations as they journey across Europe for the 2020 summer and fall seasons to rediscover legendary landmarks, charming coastlines and the diverse cultures. Allure of the Seas will be the first Royal Amplified Oasis Class ship in Europe, offering 7-night Western Mediterranean itineraries that depart from Barcelona. From Rome, the reimagined Explorer will offer a mix of 7- to 12-night sailings along the Greek Isles, uncovering storied temples, amphitheaters and villages.

Vision of the Seas will join Allure in Barcelona for the summer and fall seasons to offer travelers 12-night cruises across the Mediterranean, as Rhapsody of the Seas returns to Venice, Italy for the summer to offer shorter itineraries, alternating between Greece & Croatia and the Greek Isles. Copenhagen will welcome Jewel of the Seas for the season, as the ship sails a mix of 7-night itineraries through the Norwegian Fjords and Scandinavia & Russia. Brilliance of the Seas will return to Amsterdam for a third summer, sailing 12-night Baltic itineraries and a special 12-night sailing around the British Isles. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, adventurers can board Brilliance for a 15-night arctic crossing as the ship repositions from Amsterdam to Boston, Mass. European itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 17, 2018. All itineraries will be open to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Entertainment and Recreation Line-Up for Norwegian Encore at Keel Laying Ceremony
Today at the Meyer Werft shipyard, Norwegian Cruise Line held a keel laying ceremony for Norwegian Encore, unveiling the award-winning entertainment line-up and leading recreational amenities scheduled for the ship’s fall 2019 debut.

Following the major construction milestone and maritime tradition of embedding a “commemorative coin” within the keel blocks of the ship, attendees were treated to an unexpected presentation. Four performers appeared in extravagant costume with the lead singer in the show’s iconic boots, providing a surprise performance from “Kinky Boots,” confirming the Tony Award-winning musical as the headlining act on Norwegian Encore. Lola, the lead character, and her three dancing angels sang “Land of Lola,” one of the 16 original songs by Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper.

“Norwegian Encore’s keel laying ceremony was not only special because we crossed a key construction milestone, but because we celebrated the incredible partnership we have had with the Meyer Werft team - a team of talented individuals who have built some of our most innovative ships,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Today’s surprise ‘Kinky Boots’ performance showcases the evolution of the meaningful and unforgettable experiences we are dedicated to providing our guests. We are very excited to be the first to feature this award-winning musical at sea.”

"We are honored to celebrate the construction milestone and keel laying of Norwegian Encore, another ship of the brand’s fleet built by Meyer Werft during the long-term relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Stephan Schmees, project manager and member of the board for Meyer Werft. “We look forward to delivering this incredible ship in the fall of 2019 and showcasing the technology and innovation made in Germany."

Staying true to the company’s commitment to delivering unrivaled entertainment options; the freedom and flexibility for guests to express themselves and design their ideal cruise experience; and providing one of the most inclusive vacation options available, the offerings soon-to-be-available on Norwegian Encore are a testament to the continued evolution of the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class of the company’s history.

Exclusively on Norwegian Encore, “Kinky Boots” is a story about an unlikely partnership between a fabulous entertainer and factory owner, who through compassion and understanding embrace their differences and work together to create something the world has never seen before. Featuring original songs by Cyndi Lauper, the Broadway hit inspires audiences to feel free to be who they want to be.

Expanding on some of the most compelling entertainment at sea, “The Choir of Man,” which recently debuted on Norwegian Escape, combines high energy music, dance, live percussion and foot stomping choreography by the incredible talent of nine ordinary guys who perform everything from sing-along anthems to classic rock.

Additional entertainment that made a debut on Norwegian Bliss and will be available on Norwegian Encore include “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical,” the interactive cocktails and theater show, and guest favorite – The Cavern Club, which transports audiences back to the legendary Liverpool club with live musical performances from a Beatles cover band.

As the only company to offer go-karts at sea, Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its portfolio with a bigger and better two-level race track on Norwegian Encore. At nearly 1,150 feet, ten exhilarating turns and four points that extend up to 13 feet over the side of the ship, guests will enjoy the largest race track at sea. Additional upgrades include a covered viewing area in the center of the track where guests can provide passing go-karts with an additional turbo boost by tagging them with a laser beam.

Norwegian Encore will also feature the Galaxy Pavilion, a more than 10,000-square-foot indoor virtual reality complex, showcasing cutting-edge technology and interactive gaming. From multisensory virtual experiences, simulators to an escape room taking guests on a labyrinth of adventures, guests of all ages will be able to find something to enjoy.

The industry’s only open-air laser tag arena made popular on Norwegian Bliss will reappear on Norwegian Encore, but this time as the resurrected lost city of Atlantis, with new elements for a more exciting and interactive experience. The ship will also feature the Aqua Park, which guests have come to expect of the Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class, including two multi-story waterslides, one of which extends 11 feet over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

At approximately 169,000 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

MSC Cruises Reveals New, Exclusive Cirque du Soleil At Sea Shows For MSC Bellissima
MSC Cruises has revealed today details of the two new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows that are being created specifically for MSC Bellissima. The breath-taking shows will be called SYMA – Sail beyond Imagination and VARÉLIA – Love in Full Color and will be available exclusively to MSC Bellissima guests, following her launch in March 2019.

The long-term partnership between MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil first began in 2013 and has since set new standards in live entertainment at sea. The partnership, in total, will result in eight original shows that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world, exclusively on MSC Cruises' Meraviglia generation ships coming into service between 2017 and 2020. MSC Meraviglia was the first ship to debut the new Cirque du Soleil at Sea concept with the launch of the two shows VIAGGIO and SONOR last June. Work is already underway for MSC Grandiosa, launching in November 2019, and MSC Virtuosa, launching October 2020.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman commented, "The partnership with Cirque du Soleil is truly special. With the creation of Cirque du Soleil at Sea we wanted to bring our guests the very best in onboard live entertainment and more importantly something that they would not be able to see anywhere else in the world. As a family company, all of our strategic partnerships are built on shared values and a shared vision — a true collaboration from beginning to end. With Cirque du Soleil at Sea we wanted to bring yet more innovation to our entertainment offering, and this began with the bespoke design and construction of the state-of-the-art entertainment lounge — the only such venue at sea — through to the creative development of the shows, where we are involved every step of the way from early conception right through to final delivery of the shows."

Yasmine Khalil, Chief Executive Producer, Cirque du Soleil & President, 45 DEGREES stated, "We are thrilled to embark on our second MSC Cruises ship as we pursue Cirque du Soleil's journey at sea. We could not have wished for a better partnership where thanks to the purposely built theater, the Carousel Lounge, our teams can unleash their creativity and continue to push the boundaries of entertainment at sea. Joining VIAGGIO and SONOR, our first two shows on MSC Meraviglia, Cirque du Soleil continues to reinvent itself through an intimate theater experience, where two new shows are created exclusively for MSC Bellissima which promise to take MSC Cruises' guests on an entirely new journey. We look forward to revealing some of the details of these 2 new shows."

Mr Vago continued, "It is really quite incredible that we will develop together eight original shows, two for each of the initial four Meraviglia class ships. Every element of each show is unique from the concept and storyline, the characters, the costumes and make-up through to the music, staging and sound effects. This is unparalleled within the cruise industry and means that guests are able to experience original, truly distinct and spectacular Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows only on board our Meraviglia generation ships."

SYMA – Sail Beyond Imagination takes viewers on the epic journey of a young sailor, brimming with imagination. On this bold expedition, he braves the elements, plunges into troubled waters and discovers the mysterious island of his dreams, populated by surreal, and colorful creatures. We all carry our own imaginary island inside of us, so what are you waiting for? SYMA awaits. Immersive video images, an original set design, bioluminescent lighting and acrobatic feats make SYMA an unforgettable show.

VARÉLIA – Love in Full Color puts a futuristic twist on a traditional medieval tale. It traces the arduous course of an unconventional courtship between a princess with distinctive violet skin and a charming hero who is blind. Their budding romance is thwarted by a villain who, in a fit of madness, kidnaps the royal. With the help of his friends, the brave young hero formulates a plan to rescue his beloved. Delight in the acrobatic feats, the laser show and the unique set design of this futuristic medieval tale.

The Carousel Lounge is a purpose-built entertainment venue hosting just over 400 guests each night and specially designed for the needs of the Cirque du Soleil at Sea artists. Creating an immersive and intimate spectacle for MSC Cruises guests, the space allows viewers to fully connect with the artists. With an investment of €20 million each (approx. $22.7MM USD), the lounge features state-of-the-art technology and high specification technical features to deliver an exceptional and memorable entertainment experience for guests. The 360° rotating stage is set in the middle of the lounge with seating all around to maximize the viewing experience.

The central stage also rotates, meaning guests can see the action from different angles during every performance. Another important element to the impressive stage layout is a 131-ft.-long LED screen, which is integral to each show and creates an immersive performance. Cirque du Soleil performances are renowned for their aerial acts, and special rigging has been developed on board to enable the artists to perform their impressive aerial acrobatics. The shows on board MSC Bellissima will feature additional new and exciting special effects and features.

Positioned at the aft of the ship on deck 7, the Carousel Lounge offers stunning views of the ocean. Guests can enjoy the beautiful views and pre-show entertainment while having dinner or sipping a cocktail before the performance starts.

The artists for the new shows have now been cast and, after training at Cirque du Soleil Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, the team will soon embark on board MSC Bellissima where final preparations will be underway. All of the artists have been carefully selected for their special performance skills and the specific needs of the two shows. The performers have also been trained to the high standards required of Cirque du Soleil performers.

Cirque du Soleil at Sea is a pre-booked experience for guests with competitive rates and can be booked in advance, or on board during the cruise, if availability allows. Guests can either book to enjoy a three-course menu of palate-pleasing dishes served before the show ($39). Or sip on a specialty cocktail ($17) and enjoy the pre-show that begins 30 minutes before the start of the Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance.

Carnival Cruise Line, Port of Galveston Celebrate Port’s 10 Millionth Cruise Passenger
Carnival Cruise Line joined one of its most popular and fast-growing ports, the Port of Galveston, in welcoming the Port’s 10 millionth passenger, Mr. Yingtao Liu from Norman, Okla., who boarded Carnival Vista on Sunday, December 9. Carnival was the first cruise line to realize the potential of Galveston as a year-round cruise port in 2000 and since then, has carried millions of guests from Texas.

Upon arrival at the port, to their surprise, Mr. Liu, his wife, parents and three children were warmly greeted by Rodger Rees, Port of Galveston CEO and Port Director; Pavol Drimaj, Carnival Vista Hotel Director; and other members of the Carnival Vista team before boarding the ship for a week-long voyage – the family’s first cruise ever!

To celebrate the port’s incredible milestone, Carnival Cruise Line along with the Port of Galveston, Galveston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Island Bay Resort, rolled out the red carpet and provided a variety of gifts to the Liu family, including a Carnival tote with a collection of vacation essentials, a bountiful basket of delicious treats, a specially designed gift bag of Galveston-related items, and a three-night stay at a local resort. The family will also receive onboard courtesies and VIP treatment from Carnival Vista throughout their seven-day cruise which includes stops at Caribbean hot spots Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay.

“We have always recognized the incredible potential of the Port of Galveston and are proud to be a part of their momentous achievement,” said Drimaj. “We offer our most heartfelt and sincere congratulations to the entire port team and look forward to continuing to work together in providing great vacations and amazing service to our guests.”

Earlier this fall, Carnival home ported one of the most innovative ships in its fleet, Carnival Vista, at the Port of Galveston, and next year, the line will continue to expand its voyages from there with Carnival Dream’s year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico, the largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from any port. In addition to Carnival Vista, the line operates Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor from the port – together, these three ships carry more than 650,000 passengers annually, the most of the any cruise operator.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.35 - 7.74%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 104.86 - 8.22%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.14 - 0.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 47.73 - 7.39%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When the former American Export liner Constitution returned to service for American Hawaii cruises in 1982 she was rechristened by one of her famous former passengers. Who was given this honor?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - The ss United States was shown in the background of West Side Story..
courtesy of Barry Vaudrin, Minneapolis, MN


Cruise News - December 3, 2018

Celebrity Cruises Launches A Historic New Ship, Named By A Historic Godmother
After more than four years hard work on the part of thousands of engineers, architects, artisans, designers and crew, Celebrity Cruises sets sail into a new era Tuesday. Celebrity Edge joined the fleet after a moving ceremony where the ship's godmother, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, was joined by all on board to "bless this ship and all those who sail upon her."

The naming event brought together more than 3,000 guests, employees, crew members and students to commemorate the debut of Celebrity's first new ship in six years and first new ship series in more than a decade.

Yousafzai, who is now a college student at Oxford University, is the inspirational co-founder of Malala Fund, which advocates for a world where every girl can learn and lead by investing in local education activists, holding global leaders accountable and amplifying girls' voices around the world.

She discussed those issues before the ship's crew and guests in a one-on-one interview with Celebrity's President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. From girls' education to the power of diversity, both share a profound passion and commitment to these important issues.

"We are honored that Malala agreed to be the godmother of this ship, a role that reflects centuries of maritime traditions," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Celebrity's parent company. "We are especially proud because Malala's example of relentless persistence and achievement is an inspiration to our crew, who have all worked so hard and made real sacrifices to build better lives for themselves and their families."

Lutoff-Perlo added: "I am so very proud to have Malala Yousafzai as godmother of Celebrity Edge. Malala embodies our commitment to opening the world through education and gender equality. Seeing her aboard our ship sends a powerful message to our crew who represent over 70 diverse nationalities, and our guests who we sail all over the world." She continued, "The ceremony today was both touching and symbolic of what Celebrity Cruises stands for. I am grateful to Malala, her family and Malala Fund for embracing today's events and look forward to continuing our work together around the world."

Celebrity is proud to partner with Malala Fund and support them in their mission to see the 130 million out of school girls around the world get the 12 years of free, safe, quality education they deserve.

"I'm fighting to ensure millions of girls stuck in situations of poverty or war that they didn't create can learn what they need to choose a future for themselves. But to continue making progress for girls' education, we need support from leaders in every sector. I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere," said Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund.

At the naming event, hosted by noted designer Nate Berkus, emotions ran high when acclaimed recording artist Andra Day took to the stage for empowering renditions of her Grammy-nominated single "Rise Up" and Oscar-nominated single "Stand Up For Something." Both anthems were chosen for their bold statements about the power of girls' education and its role in shaping the future.

The brand chose to forego the traditional champagne bottle at the launch, and instead smashed a custom-made 18-liter bottle of Badoit French mineral water across the ship's Parabolic Ultra Bow. And with that, the ship's long-awaited inaugural season will get underway, ushering in the premium cruise line's first new ship series in more than a decade – and sparking a revolution in the industry, with the ship's cutting-edge design and first-at-sea offerings.

Celebrity Edge will begin her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019. Sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Celebrity Edge will make her first maiden voyage on December 9, 2018.

Holland America Line Takes Delivery of Nieuw Statendam
Holland America Line took delivery of Nieuw Statendam today, Nov. 29, 2018, officially making it the 15th ship in the fleet. A hand-over ceremony took place at Fincantieri's Marghera, Italy, shipyard, and Nieuw Statendam will set sail for Venice tomorrow en route to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, for its Premiere Voyage with guests departing Dec. 5.

The delivery was attended by Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president; Carnival Corporation's Micky Arison, chairman of the board, and Arnold Donald, president and CEO; and Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, and several other executives from both companies also attended.

"Today the Holland America Line family celebrates the addition of Nieuw Statendam to our fleet, and it's a proud moment for everyone involved," said Ashford. "Thank you to our partners at Fincantieri and our own team members who worked diligently to deliver the ship looking more stunning than we imagined. Nieuw Statendam represents our continued evolution of adding exciting new experiences while maintaining the hallmarks that have made Holland America Line a leader in premium cruising."

Following its transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia, Nieuw Statendam will spend a full season in the Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Nieuw Statendam's official naming ceremony will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 2.

The ship will head to its summer homeport of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in May and sail a series of northern Europe, Baltic and Iceland cruises before making its way to the Mediterranean in September for cruises out of Civitavecchia.

The 99,902-ton vessel accommodates 2,666 guests and is the ultimate expression of the Holland America Line brand. The ship features purpose-built staterooms for families and solo travelers among its 1,377 guest accommodations.

While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature grand, light-filled spaces, visual drama and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

In addition to the stunning Dining Room, guests will delight in specialty restaurants that include newly designed Rudi's Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie; pan-Asian Tamarind, with a new al fresco dining area where guests can enjoy the gentle ocean breeze; Nami Sushi, a new sushi experience within Tamarind; the award-winning Pinnacle Grill; Canaletto, with family-style Italian dining; and the new Club Orange restaurant exclusively for guests in the Club Orange program.

Additional culinary venues include Grand Dutch Cafe featuring traditional Dutch coffee and treats and European beer; Dive-In, serving up gourmet burgers and fries poolside; New York Deli & Pizza, offering made-to-order sandwiches and pies; and Lido Market, with themed serving stations that revolutionize the buffet experience.

Onboard entertainment features the innovative Music Walk offering a variety of authentic live musical experiences and genres unlike any other at sea. These include the debut of the new Rolling Stone Rock Room with classic rock hits; Lincoln Center Stage, with chamber music; Billboard Onboard, with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King's Blues Club, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage and expanded seating on Nieuw Statendam, even more guests will enjoy spectacular performances with panoramic visuals and sound effects.

Cunard Launches New Holistic Spa Concept
Luxury cruise line Cunard announces Mareel Wellness & Beauty: a new spa concept developed in partnership with wellness innovator Canyon Ranch, to be rolled out across its fleet. Mareel will launch exclusively on board the newly-refurbished Queen Elizabeth this December 2018, closely followed by Queen Victoria and on flagship liner Queen Mary 2 in November 2020.

Mareel, meaning phosphorescence of the ocean, is taken from the ancient Norse language and speaks to the illuminating light and healing energy of the sea. The new brand will offer a holistic approach with an extended spa treatment menu of mineral-rich seawater and marine-based experiences as well as a redesign of the entire spa facility.

The new spa decor will bring to life the magic of the ocean in hues of blue, green and pale coral, creating a sanctuary of calm where guests can soak up the sea's transformational energy. New offerings on Queen Elizabeth include:

• Couples suite for seaweed bathing rituals

• Meditation room with acoustic resonance loungers

• Redesigned multifunctional fitness center and studio space

• Sound therapy facilities in every treatment room

The 'Ocean Discovery' will launch as the signature treatment featuring organic marine-based products from VOYA sustainably harvested in Western Ireland and designed to replenish and nourish the skin and body. An entire range of ocean inspired massage, body and alternative treatments will also launch and will complement the aqua therapy center harnessing the healing power of water. Treatment highlights include:

• Taste the Ocean Full Body Experience

• Organic Seaweed Leaf Wrap

• Luminescence Massage

• Age-Defying Restorative Facial

In addition, a new range of luxury products will be introduced, all selected to offer socially responsible production techniques with organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested, wild-picked, biodynamic and toxin-free including Red Flower, Shankara and Environ.

Mareel will also feature enhanced wellness experiences across the ship's daily activity program including stretch and daily meditation videos shown on stateroom TVs, wellness seminars, and outdoor dance and yoga classes.

"We are thrilled to debut our new collaboration with Canyon Ranch, Mareel Wellness & Beauty, onboard the recently enhanced Queen Elizabeth," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "Cunard's first-ever, uniquely conceived spa concept will offer our discerning guests a new level of luxury wellness at sea - only on Cunard."

The new Mareel Wellness & Beauty experience is just one of the many enhancements on Queen Elizabeth during a two-week dry dock in Brest, France this past November. In addition to the new spa, many public spaces, bars and lounges have been updated and all Grill Suites and Britannia Staterooms have new carpets and soft furnishings. The Royal Court Theater had a complete technical overhaul; the Royal Arcade has been enhanced to offer an elevated shopping experience; and the outdoor decks have new furniture with a new layout on the Sun Deck.

Queen Elizabeth will embark on a banner year in 2019, setting sail on January 3 from Southampton to Australia via Cape Town, South Africa, then travel to Japan for April voyages exploring the cultural delights of the islands. On May 5, she will start a transpacific voyage to relocate to Alaska for a maiden season until June 30, 2019. Queen Elizabeth will then sail down the West Coast of the U.S. with a rare overnight stay in Los Angeles on July Fourth, and then head back to Southampton via the Panama Canal.

Carnival Legend To Visit 34 Ports In 14 Countries In 2020
Carnival Legend will operate Carnival Cruise Line's most diverse European season to date with nine- to 16-day voyages visiting 34 ports in 14 countries including breathtaking destinations in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Greenland and Iceland in summer and fall 2020.

Available through the Carnival Adventures program, hundreds of shore excursions will be offered where guests can explore centuries-old historic sites and landmarks, savor delicious local cuisine and view spectacular scenery, including the majestic Norwegian fjords.

"We've put together an unmatched program of European cruises, featuring off-the-beaten path destinations as well as some of the most popular seaside port cities. There's no better way to Choose Fun in Europe!" said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

In 2020, Carnival Legend will boast the company's most comprehensive European schedule ever, offering an unprecedented variety of destinations, cruise durations and embarkation ports. Highlights include:

• A 16-day Northern trans-Atlantic crossing from New York to London (Dover) June 3-19, featuring day-long visits to these spectacular destinations: Qaqortoq, Greenland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Cork (Cobh), Ireland.

• A nine-day Norwegian Fjords cruise round-trip from London June 19-28, visiting six scenic Norwegian ports: Bergen, Olden, Molde, Trondheim, Alesund, and Stavanger, with ample opportunities to view the majestic Norwegian fjords.

• A nine-day Western Europe cruise June 28 – July 7 from London to Barcelona, visiting Le Havre (Paris), France; La Coruña, Spain; Leixoes and Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar; and Malaga, Spain

• Nine- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises between Venice and Barcelona with stops at some of Europe's most beautiful and sought-after destinations, including Marseilles, France; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; and Dubrovnik and Rijeka, Croatia.

• A 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to Tampa Oct. 30 – Nov. 15, highlighted by visits to Malaga, Spain; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Antigua; San Juan; and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic).

Before her summer in Europe, Carnival Legend will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal voyage from Tampa to New York May 3-16, 2020, with calls in Cozumel, Mexico and Limon, Costa Rica prior to a partial Panama Canal transit followed by visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Aruba; and Grand Turk.

Once in New York, Carnival Legend will operate two nine-day Caribbean sailings departing May 16 and 25, 2020 and featuring San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

Carnival Legend will also offer a schedule of six- and seven-day Caribbean sailings featuring calls at a variety of tropical islands, including Grand Cayman, Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), as well as eight-day partial Panama Canal voyages, round-trip from Tampa in winter 2020-21.

Holland America Line Offers Range of Options in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for 2019 Season
In 2019, Holland America Line's Noordam is set to cruise a variety of unique itineraries in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific that showcase the region's must-visit ports, bucket-list locales and iconic sites. Maasdam also will explore the area on its longer EXC In-Depth Voyages, which include an epic 30-day Australia Circumnavigation.

Offering a premium, mid-sized ship experience, Noordam explores the enchanting islands of the South Pacific, Australia's southern and eastern regions, and the North and South islands of New Zealand on a series of cruises that range from 10 to 26 days. Maasdam's EXC In-Depth Voyages also touch the South Pacific and New Zealand on cruises from 11 to 30 days and reach the entire coast of Australia.

Many of the itineraries can be booked together to form longer, more in-depth Collectors' Voyages of up to 51 days, which combine nonrepeating back-to-back cruises.

"For many travelers, a trip to Australia, New Zealand or the South Pacific is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, so we've planned our cruises to call at some unique ports that aren't on every cruise itinerary, in addition to the iconic places everyone wants to see in that part of the world," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Holland America Line's mission is to deliver the most in-depth, immersive cruise experience so our guests feel connected to those destinations and local cultures when they return home. These two ships offer incredible itineraries that are going to be enticing to many travelers."

Noordam offers cruises roundtrip from Sydney, Australia, or between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand. During the voyages, guests experience some of the world's most scenic cruising, including Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Shoreside, many of the tours include UNESCO World Heritage Site visits.

The ship kicks off the new year departing Jan. 4 on a 10-day South Australia Discovery cruise roundtrip from Sydney, with a call in Tasmania and Kangaroo Island. Noordam's 14-day Pacific Treasures cruise in January is also roundtrip Sydney but highlights more exotic and lesser-known tropical ports on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with four calls at each locale.

The 13- or 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruises between Auckland and Sydney run January through March 2019 and again in November and December, including a special holiday cruise departing Dec. 21. Those itineraries visit seven to 10 ports and include a day of scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park. Several departures also include scenic cruising in Milford Sound.

The 14-day New Zealand Discovery voyages departing in March and April sail roundtrip from Sydney and include nine calls in New Zealand, giving a comprehensive exploration of the country. The cruise includes scenic cruising in Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park.

A Transpacific crossing between the Pacific region and North America is offered at the beginning and end of each season. Departing April 21, 2019, Noordam sets sail from Sydney to Vancouver, British Columbia, on a 22-day journey that calls at seven ports in New Caledonia, Fiji, American Samoa and Hawaii. The ship returns to Australia on a 26-day South Pacific Crossing from Vancouver to Sydney Oct. 13, making calls in Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Maasdam's first 2019 cruise in the Australasia region departs in March to the South Pacific. The 17-day Pacific Odyssey itinerary from Brisbane, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand explores several ports on the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand. The ship then heads to North America on a 24-day Polynesian Crossing from Auckland to San Francisco, California, calling at Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete, Rangiroa, Tuamotu, Marquesas and Nuku Hiva.

The ship returns to New Zealand in September 2019 for an 11-day cruise before embarking on an epic 30-day Australia Circumnavigation Oct. 17. During this memorable voyage, the ship will call at 14 Australian ports, infamous Komodo Island and feature scenic cruising in the Great Barrier Reef, Ribbon Reef, Torres Strait and a sunrise at Lizard Island.

Maasdam then sails a 17-day Australia & Melanesia itinerary departing Nov. 16 up the eastern coast of Australia to Alotau, Kiriwina, Kitava and the Conflict Islands. In December the ship offers a 20-day Pacific Islands Adventure cruise roundtrip from Sydney to New Zealand, Tonga, Niue, Fiji and New Caledonia. Departing Dec. 23, the 14-day Southern Australia Holiday cruise offers Australian ports and can be combined with the 20-day Pacific Islands Adventure cruise to form an ideal 34-day holiday adventure.

Ranging from 24 to 51 days, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Collectors' Voyages are perfect for avid explorers seeking a more extensive cruise experience. The voyages combine back-to-back itineraries and represent the best per-day value for guests. During the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruise season, Noordam sails six Collectors' Voyages and Maasdam offers seven, affording the most in-depth exploration of this diverse region with extended itineraries visiting multiple destinations.

Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings the traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific to life onboard. Through EXC Encounters, guests could learn how to play a didgeridoo or see a performance by a local dance troupe. Guests who want to learn more about the countries can attend an EXC Talk by an EXC Guide or head to America's Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare.

The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the port calls, and the in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship's itinerary.

EXC In-Depth Voyages expand on EXC programming by creating a total experience on board and ashore. Onboard enrichment is guided by a special resident team of subject-matter experts — covering such topics as marine and bird life, geology, cultural anthropology and history — who sail on all EXC In-Depth cruises, complementing each adventure with informative talks and insightful discussions of their own field experiences.

Each journey offers guests a variety of themes and choices to tailor their exploration: photography; science and nature; arts and culture; food, wine and spirits; history and perspective; and active exploration. Guests are free to focus on one area of interest or combine their passions through onboard enrichment and captivating shore activities.

Maasdam carries Zodiac inflatable boats, the type popularized by famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, so guests can enjoy opportunities to intimately explore less-accessible sites and wildlife habitats in select ports as part of the ship's EXC Tours program. A mix of onboard experts and local guides co-guide Zodiac outings to enrich the experience for guests.

Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces 2020 Voyages In Tahiti, French Polynesia & The South Pacific
Paul Gauguin Cruises officially announced its 2020 voyages this week, which feature popular favorites along with an exotic 16-night Fiji to Bali itinerary, and 12- and 13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands sailings.

The 16-night Fiji to Bali voyage departs April 11, 2020, from Lautoka, Fiji, and after a sea day visits Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; At Sea; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; At Sea; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; At Sea; Thursday Island, Australia; At Sea (2 days); Dili, Timor-Leste; At Sea; Komodo Island, Indonesia; and Benoa, Bali, Indonesia.

In 2020, The Gauguin will also be showcasing its most sought-after itineraries: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; the 7-night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti; the 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; the 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and the 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands.

The Gauguin returns to the tropical wonderland of Fiji on two voyages that also feature Tonga, the Cook Islands, and the Society Islands. Blessed with blue skies, high mountains, lush vegetation, ivory beaches, and shimmering azure waters, Fiji is the very picture of paradise. The 13-night voyage departs Papeete, Tahiti, on March 28, 2020, and visits: Moorea, Society Islands; Taha'a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands; Bora Bora, Society Islands (overnight); At Sea; Aitutaki, Cook Islands; At Sea (2 days); Vava'u, Tonga; At Sea; Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji; Beqa Island, Fiji; and Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji. The 12-night reverse itinerary departs June 6, 2020, and calls at the same ports except Beqa Island, Fiji.

Designed specifically to sail the pristine lagoons of these islands, The Gauguin provides an up-close, authentic experience of the South Seas and offers an elegant yet casual ambiance with luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, and extraordinary all-inclusive value. Guests also receive complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises' two exclusive retreats. Off the coast of Taha'a lies the islet of Motu Mahana, where guests can enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a sumptuous barbecue feast, and cocktails from full and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a private, white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

To launch its 2020 voyages, Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering savings of 50% off standard cruise fares on all voyages, plus included airfare from Los Angeles. Past guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises enjoy additional savings of up to 15% off final cruise fares on select sailings as members of Paul Gauguin Society.

Carnival Corporation to Operate Cruise Terminal in Canary Islands
Carnival Corporation today announced an agreement with the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife following a Board of Directors meeting presided by Pedro Suárez López de Vergara to be the first concession-holder to operate the Canary Islands' and Mid Atlantic's newest cruise terminal.

Opened in 2016 during the Seatrade Cruise Med conference that took place in Tenerife, the terminal offers passengers a comfortable experience and modern conveniences. It can also accommodate next-generation "green" cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and will welcome AIDAnova, from the corporation's Germany-based AIDA Cruises brand, on its maiden voyage in December as the world's first cruise ship that can be powered by LNG both in port and at sea.

Welcoming 617,987 cruise passengers in 2017, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Canary Islands, the seven-island Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa and Spain, and the first to attract an investment by a major cruise company. The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member, is a very active member of MedCruise, the leading cruise port association worldwide, and it has been a Cruises Atlantic Islands founding member since 1994.

Carnival Corporation also manages two other cruise terminals in Spain – the Helix and Palacruceros facilities in Barcelona.

Seven brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises UK – make port calls to Tenerife during the course of the year. Carnival Corporation expects to bring more than 300,000 passenger visits to the port in 2018 – half of all cruise passenger visits – with 130 calls by 31 different ships from the company's cruise line brands.

"Carnival Corporation has long been a valued partner with the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Canary Islands, and we are confident that they will be a wonderful steward of our recently built cruise port," said Pedro Suárez López de Vergara, president of the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. "Thanks in large part to Carnival Corporation ships, the cruise market generated an economic impact to the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the city of Santa Cruz of €24 million ($27.1 million) in the 2018 cruise season, an increase of €6m from the 2017 cruise season, and we look forward to continuing to share our beautiful island with visiting cruise passengers coming through this cruise terminal."

The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife celebrates this long-term agreement with the aim of extending the benefits to its other ports – Santa Cruz de La Palma, San Sebastián de La Gomera, La Estaca in El Hierro and Los Cristianos in Tenerife.

The president continued: "Our ports are performing very well in the cruise business – last year we received nearly 1 million cruise passengers and we are confident to increase this figure close to 2 percent in 2018. We expect the new partnership will boost the cruise business in the region."

Carnival Corporation guests who visit Tenerife can take advantage of a variety of popular shore excursions, including whale and dolphin watching, visiting the historic district of La Laguna – the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the Canary Islands – and exploring natural attractions such as the Gardens of La Orotava Valley, the Anaga Biosphere Reserve or the Mount El Teide in the National Park, home to Spain's highest peak and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"This concession and our ongoing investment is part of Carnival Corporation's long-term strategy to continue to develop the cruise industry in the Canary Islands," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "Our passion is to always provide the best possible experiences for our guests, and Tenerife is an extremely popular destination that offers something for everyone – including a storied history, beautiful beaches, exotic gardens, unique crafts and memorable cuisine. We look forward to ensuring that our cruise guests coming through the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife have a great experience, and we also look forward to expanding relationships with our friends in Tenerife."

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife terminal will be the first port in the Canaries able to accommodate Carnival Corporation's new class of next-generation "green" cruise ships able to be operated by LNG, both in port and at sea. The company currently has 11 LNG-powered ships on order for five of its nine cruise line brands, with the first ship, AIDAnova, scheduled to make its maiden call on Tenerife on December 18, 2018.

In addition to its ships that will pioneer the use of LNG, the company has been an industry leader with another environmental technology breakthrough, making Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) highly functional in the small confines of a cruise ship. Carnival Corporation has already outfitted 70 ships in its fleet with the systems, which significantly improve air emissions by reducing sulfur compounds and particulate matter in ships' exhaust.

Santa Cruz Terminal joins eight global ports and terminals already operated by Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands, including:

• Barcelona (Helix & Palacruceros terminals) in Spain

• Savona in Italy

• Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic

• Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico

• Grand Turk Cruise Center in Turks and Caicos Islands

• Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras

• Long Beach in California

Carnival Corporation also operates two private destinations in the Caribbean, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, and has a joint venture in Dubai for the future operation of two cruise terminals. Additionally, through a joint venture, Carnival Corporation is a 50/50 operator with MSC Cruises of a terminal in Marseille, France.

Royal Caribbean Appoints Stephen R. Howe Jr. To Board Of Directors
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today announced the appointment of Stephen R. Howe Jr., retired U.S. Chairman and Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, to its Board of Directors. His appointment is effective as of December 4.

"It is my pleasure to welcome Mr. Howe to our board of directors," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "His 35 years of involvement in professional services, as well as his experience on diversity and inclusion, will be a valuable addition to the board."

Mr. Howe served as Ernst & Young's U.S. Chairman and Managing Partner and Americas Area Managing Partner and was a member of EY's Global Executive Board from 2006 until his retirement in December 2018. While leading EY in the U.S. and the Americas, he was the executive sponsor for the firm's focus on diversity and inclusiveness. Prior to 2006, Mr. Howe was the Managing Partner of the firm's Financial Services Office and led client service teams for a number of global financial institutions. He was with EY for over 35 years. Mr. Howe is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall and the Board of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.08 - 0.52%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 114.25 + 2.50%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.15 + 10.58%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.54 - 0.04%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ocean liner is shown in the background of the opening scene of the movie West Side Story?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the cruise ship that was was overtaken by terrorists in 1985? One passenger was killed in the incident. Also, what was her original name?

Answer - The ship was the Achille Lauro, formerly the Dutch colonial liner Willem Ruys.
courtesy of venicedevil@hotmail.com


Cruise News - November 26, 2018

Symphony of the Seas Officially Named By First Ever Godfamily
It’s official, Miami’s newest ship has come in. Royal Caribbean International celebrated the homecoming of the world’s largest cruise ship with the naming ceremony of Symphony of the Seas, the 25th ship in the global cruise line’s impressive fleet. Symphony was named by Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Godfamily, actors Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, who along with 23-month-old son Ocean, were on hand to christen the ship and bestow a blessing of safekeeping over her crew and guests. Having celebrated many happy occasions onboard the cruise line’s Oasis Class ships, the naming ceremony marks the avid Royal Caribbean fans’ biggest adventure yet with the cruise line.

With almost 1,000 guests in attendance, Symphony of the Seas was christened while dockside at the cruise line’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A at PortMiami, making for the largest naming ceremony in Royal Caribbean’s history. The customary event was infused with modern day elements – ranging from an electronic violinist who serenaded the crowd throughout the ceremony, to a stunning sail away performance by nearly 400 choreographed drones – and also incorporated a number of local Miami touches. Florida International University’s Marching Band kicked off the celebration, while students from Miami Southridge Senior High headlined the occasion on stage with a rousing drumline performance. Through Royal Caribbean’s partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, Miami Southridge Senior High was one of 20 high schools within the Miami-Dade County Public School District that received a Royal Caribbean-funded grant through the GRAMMY Museum Signature Schools program, which supports music education programs in underserved high schools.

Joining sister ship Allure of the Seas at Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art Terminal A, Symphony will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean with featured visits to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the global cruise line’s newly revealed private destination in The Bahamas. The 170,000-square-foot Terminal A, nicknamed the ‘Crown of Miami,’ is the most innovative cruise facility in the U.S. with an expected $500 million in revenue and addition of 4,000 jobs to Miami-Dade County. It is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will welcome at least 1.8 million guests at PortMiami, representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected traveler traffic. For more information about Symphony, visit RoyalCaribbean.com/SymphonyoftheSeas.

Symphony brings to life every family’s vacation dreams with a bold lineup of energy-filled, heart-pumping experiences. The new ship offers the chance to go head-to-head in a glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure, take the plunge down the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea towering 10 stories high – or soak up some sun after getting drenched on epic waterslides and FlowRider surf simulators. After a day at play, families can dine at a variety of venues that will keep taste buds tingling, including Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh for Mexican street-food fare, all before picking up the sweetest of treats at Sugar Beach. Adding to the excitement is the Ultimate Family Suite, a one-of-a-kind, two-story home away from home designed for both the young and young at heart, where families can enjoy a signature in-suite slide, private cinema, building block wall, Luckey Climber vertical maze for kids and whirlpool, among other premium services and amenities.

Virgin Voyages Reveals Miami Terminal
Virgin Voyages announced this week that it will be building its own terminal for their first ship, Scarlet Lady.

In the announcement, Virgin Voyages said that from the decor of the bars to every detail of the cabins, they have partnered with a creative collective of top-notch designers from around the globe to craft our Scarlet Lady. When it came to the Virgin Voyages terminal, they said they decided to look for top-notch talent in thir very own backyard.

Pending the Board of County Commission’s approval of the MOU for construction of a new cruise facility, the new terminal (and future home) is planned for PortMiami. Seeing how the cruise line will be setting up shop in the heart of Biscayne Bay, they wanted to be sure they worked with a firm that understood how to highlight and honor the Magic City.

That's why they said they joined forces with Miami-based architecture and design firm Arquitectonica, the visionaries behind projects such as the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami, Brickell City Centre Complex in Brickell and the Miami City Ballet in South Beach.

According to Virgin the announcement, "Not only are they experts in building structures equipped for tropical elements like sizzling sun, splashing salt and dizzying winds. More importantly, they understand what it means to create something truly, unequivocally and wholeheartedly, “Miami.”"

The cruise line said that its goal with the terminal is to highlight and emphasize those things people love about Miami and give a nod to the past in thier unique Virgin way. For years visitors have been attracted by the city's sun-soaked beaches, invigorating atmosphere and gorgeous, iconic sights.

No sight more recognized than the Royal Palm Tree lounging carefree amidst a backdrop of captivating Art Deco design. These palm trees, tall and regal, relaxed yet unwavering, were the inspiration for the structure that will become our sanctuary in the bustling bay.

To pay homage to these venerable palms, the cruisee line said wanted to design something that will make every sailor feel like they’re having an authentic Miami experience from the moment they catch a glimpse of our mesmerizing terminal. In planning to bring life to a slab of hot concrete overlooking the beautiful downtown cityscape, Arquitectonica decided sailors could use a little shade before boarding the scintillating Scarlet Lady.

The terminal’s rooftop is designed to resemble a palm tree grove with pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, and gorgeous beams to light up the iconic Virgin Voyages logo (as well as the Miami sky) by night, allowing the future home to shine brightly.

The two-story storm-proof glass facility will be replete with lush landscaping giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for VIP drop-offs, as well as ride-sharing and provisioning — all designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience.

According to Virgin Voyages, As soon as sailors begin to cross the bridge onto the port’s planned future home on Dodge Island, it will be impossible to look away from the elegantly crafted structures that blend seamlessly to form a canopy of permanent palm trees anyone can enjoy. Our own Virgin Voyages palm grove.

MSC Cuts Steel for MSC Seashore
MSC Cruises and Fincantieri announced this week that it has cut the first steel of MSC Seashore, the first of two MSC Cruises Seaside EVO ships currently on order at Fincantieri. At a ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Bono launched the cutting of the first steel of this new ship.

Coming into service in Spring 2021, the 169,400 GT MSC Seashore will be the first in its kind, further enriching MSC Cruises’ Seaside Class of ships with new cutting edge features including: an additional lounge at the aft part; a further enhanced MSC Yacht Club covering three forward decks; specialty restaurants at the level of the promenade at deck 8 for dining al fresco whilst being close to the sea; a larger number of whirlpools across the ship; and 200 additional cabins as well as even more generous public spaces. Moreover, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including a selective catalytic reduction system; exhaust gas cleaning technology; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems; and an advanced energy and heat recovery system, as well as other technology and measures to further increase energy efficiency.

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “With the Seaside Class, we introduced to the market one of the more innovative cruise ship prototypes all-around – our fifth out of six to-date – thus setting a new industry standard for others to follow. Today, only one year after MSC Seaside entered into service, we are taking this award-winning concept to the next level by starting the construction of a further evolved and even richer ship. MSC Seashore is an example of our commitment to bringing the most innovative and technologically-advanced tonnage to the sea, and will be bestowed with the latest and best maritime and environmental technology available.”

The CEO of Fincantieri, Giuseppe Bono, stated: “The design of this ship is the perfect symbol of what Fincantieri has become and of what the Group today represents on the international market scene and at an overall industrial level. MSC Seashore is designed to impress: first of all due to her size, she will be by far the largest ship ever built in Italy, allowing us to further increase our management standards, but even for her top-class technological level. She is a prototype that we developed based on a one-of-a-kind and hugely successful platform as Seaside is demonstrating to be”. Bono then concluded: “Over and above that, we are very proud to contribute to the growth of MSC Cruises, a company which is emerging as one of the major market players”.

Today’s event marked another milestone in MSC Cruises’ industry-unprecedented 10-year development plan for 17 additional new mega ships, with four new ships currently under construction at the same time. MSC Seashore is the seventh ship to be built under this plan and will become the 19th ship MSC Cruises has built since its inception in 2003. Additionally, the coming into service of the first Seaside EVO ship will take innovation in cruise ship building to yet another level of excellence, much like the introduction of the original Seaside prototype has set a new standard for the industry to follow.

MSC Seashore is inspired by MSC Cruises’ vision for cruising in warm waters and balmy weather, in a unique setting. She will follow the bold and innovative design of the Seaside Class, with a wrap-around promenade on Deck 8, offering guests a myriad of choices for outside dining and relaxing. Her name, much like for her predecessors MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, is meant to reflect this new way of enjoying the cruising experience – first introduced on MSC Cruises’ Seaside Class – by bringing guests closest to the sea to enjoy that also while at sea.

In addition to offering even more space and an even richer experience, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, even more generous public spaces, more cabins, a larger MC Yacht Club, and will be hosting a total of up to 5,632 guests.

MSC Seashore will be joined merely 18 months later by a second Seaside EVO ship in autumn 2022.

Technical ship specs:

• Length/beam/height: 1,112 ft./135 ft./243 ft.

• Gross tonnage: 169,400 GT

• Guests: 5,632

• Crew: 1,648

• Guest staterooms: 2,270

• Maximum speed: 21.8 knots

• Delivery date: spring 2021

• 19th cruise ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet since its inception in 2003

• First extended version of the Seaside Class

• Man hours required to construct the ship: over 10 million

• Number of Fincantieri employees involved at the yard – during construction: up to 4,000

Carnival Panorama to Feature First Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park and Challenge Zone at Sea
When Carnival Panorama debuts in December 2019, it will introduce the first-ever indoor trampoline park and challenge zone at sea, in partnership with industry leader, Sky Zone.

Located on Decks 6 and 7, the expansive two-deck-high facility encompasses more than 3,000 square feet, providing high-flying fun for guests of all ages across a 12-lane trampoline court. Adjacent to the trampoline court will be a challenge zone equipped with a climbing wall, balance/jousting beam, Sky Ladder climbing apparatus and Tug of War.

Sky Zone will serve as the venue for a variety of activities that appeal to both the young and young at heart, including gravity-defying dodgeball games and above-the-rim basketball experiences where guests can become slam-dunk stars.

Other activities include nighttime blacklight glow parties, as well as toddler time sessions where young cruisers and their families can play with oversized soft blocks and participate in the bouncy fun. There will be various fitness activities planned for all levels from beginning to advanced to get the whole family moving. Additional details on Carnival Panorama’s Sky Zone will be announced in the near future.

Sky Zone is the originator in creating innovative ways to play with over 200 parks across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Columbia.

Sky Zone is one of many family-friendly amenities that will be featured on Carnival Panorama when it debuts in Long Beach next year, becoming the first new Carnival ship to be homeported on the West Coast in 20 years.

The 133,500-ton ship will also feature a massive WaterWorks aqua park, extra-roomy Family Harbor staterooms, a suspended ropes course, the SkyRide aerial attraction and Seuss at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Carnival Panorama is set to debut Dec. 11, 2019, with a three-day inaugural cruise followed by the launch of year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera service on Dec. 14.

Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Free at Sea Program with the Addition Of Free and Reduced Airfare
Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in cruise travel, today announced the addition of free and reduced airfare to its long-standing Free at Sea program, providing guests with even more freedom, flexibility and value to design their ideal cruise vacation.

With over 200 airports across the U.S., Canada and Europe included, guests can take advantage of free or reduced roundtrip airfare for up to two guests when flying to some of Norwegian Cruise Line’s most popular homeports including Barcelona, Honolulu, Miami and Seattle.

In addition to airfare, guests can select beverage packages, shore excursion credits, specialty dining packages, internet packages and Norwegian’s Friends & Family Sail Free initiative, which enables the third and fourth guests in a stateroom to sail complimentary.

With Norwegian’s Free at Sea program, cruisers who book a studio or inside stateroom will receive one free option; those who book an ocean view, balcony or mini-suite stateroom will receive three free options; and guests in Concierge class and The Haven by Norwegian will receive all six options.

“Not only are we known for offering guests the freedom and flexibility to cruise how and when they want, but we are also recognized as one of the most inclusive vacation experiences available,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “With the addition of free and reduced airfare to Free at Sea, we continue to give guests even more reasons to vacation with us.”

Available for a limited time, the free and reduced airfare is assessible on over half of the cruise line’s sailings and includes roundtrip economy class airfare from select airports.

Holland America Line Announces 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises
Following the success of the 2018 series, Holland America Line is announcing dates for the 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises that showcase the talents of the members of its esteemed Culinary Council, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff and the line's Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker partners. The Culinary Council comprises a collection of elite international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to every dining venue across Holland America Line's fleet of premium ships.

The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres. James Suckling, world-renowned wine critic and Holland America Line's wine curator, has created an extensive new wine list featured on all ships in the premium fleet. The cruise line also collaborates with Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program and vintners from its home state of Washington, including Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, which helped develop the BLEND wine experience on board Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.

"Our 2018 Food and Beverage Aficionado Cruises were extremely successful, with every demonstration standing-room only and each specialty dinner sold out, so we're thrilled to bring this program back in 2019," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Partnering with such a wealth of talented culinary and beverage experts makes Holland America Line unique in the cruise industry, and we're in an incredible position of giving our guests authentic experiences and unprecedented access to these well-known personalities."

During each Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise, guests will have the opportunity to attend cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations; get to know the experts at presentations; meet them at photo opportunities; and join an intimate, reservation-only dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.

Guests who wish to make reservations for the specialty dinner can contact Holland America Line's Ship Services Department upon booking to secure their spot.

The 2019 schedule of Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises includes:

Rudi Sodamin, Culinary Council Chairman
Sodamin was born in Austria and trained in France. The Master Chef recently released his latest culinary masterpiece, an art table book called "Food Faces" featuring more than 150 images of edible creations that display a whimsical spectrum of human emotion. His "Food Faces" have also been immortalized on Bernardaud porcelain and are on display in Rudi's Sel de Mer, a sea brasserie available on all Holland America Line ships. Sodamin's innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world's oceans.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Veendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Nov. 13, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
David Burke
Burke is a restaurateur, cookbook author, inventor and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He has been featured on "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef Masters." He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with legendary chefs in France and New York.

Rotterdam, 7-Day Western Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Tampa, Florida
Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England, Sept. 7, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts, to Montréal, Québec, Canada
Andy Matsuda
The Japanese-born Matsuda is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda's Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Eurodam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, Oct. 19, 2019, roundtrip San Diego, California
Ethan Stowell
With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, Stowell has helped to change the face of the Seattle food scene. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by FOOD & WINE magazine in 2008 and chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.

Eurodam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, May 11, 2019, roundtrip Seattle, Washington Noordam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, July 21, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Seward, Alaska Jacques Torres
A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard award winner. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York's legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York. Torres is co-hosting the Netflix culinary show "Nailed It" with Nicole Byer.

Zaandam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, June 1, 2019, Montréal to Boston
Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, Sept. 28, 2019, Montréal to Boston
Dale DeGroff
DeGroff received the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits, was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2015 and is author of "The Essential Cocktail" and "The Craft of the Cocktail." He is a partner in the award-winning Beverage Alcohol Resource bar-training program and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

Zuiderdam, 11-Day Panama Canal Sunfarer, April 10, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, Aug. 4, 2019, Seward to Vancouver
Top Vintners Share Their Love of Wine
The spotlight is on wine — and its fascinating journey from vine to table — on select Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam itineraries throughout 2019. On each of these special cruises, a different Chateau Ste. Michelle expert will join the onboard vinologist for several one-hour sessions each day at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. They'll also be present for the ship's special Cellar Master's Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, where the accent will be on perfect wine and food pairings. There is a modest fee for this dinner.

BLEND — the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from each wine expert. BLEND has a small fee.

Al Portney, Vice President, International Sales
Portney is a veteran of the wine industry with 43 years of experience. He became vice president, international sales, for Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2006 after running his own company. Portney travels more than 200 days a year assisting the many people representing the wines of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and their associated wineries.

Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Azores & Normandy Expedition, April 21, 2019, Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cary Kloster, Vice President, Group Brand Director
Kloster joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in August of 2005 as Marketing Manager supporting Chateau Ste. Michelle and Domain Ste. Michelle brands. She has worked in roles touching all of the Washington brands, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Spring Valley Vineyard, Northstar and Col Solare.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Saga, Aug. 18, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Paul Asikainen, National Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Asikainen is responsible for a wide breadth of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of domestic and import wines. Asikainen is certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Nov. 24, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tristan Butterfield, Winemaking
As an enologist, Butterfield describes his role as "caretaker" of the red wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle's Canoe Ridge Estate Winery in Paterson, Washington. The winery houses over 85,000 oak barrels filled with wine from Washington state. He keeps track and monitors each lot of wine from harvest to bottle.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Dec. 15, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Natalie Guillen, Marketing Manager
Guillen develops and supports the annual marketing plans and cross-functional project management for Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica and Anew brands. Guillen is a long-time wine enthusiast and loves experiencing new cultures, cuisine and people. Her favorite travel destinations are wineries and vineyards around the world.

Koningsdam, 10-Day Souther
n Caribbean, Feb. 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tracey Keller, Winemaking President and winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Keller oversees the winery operations and collaborates with her winemaking team to develop blends and tastes for the acclaimed winery.

Koningsdam, 11-Day Ancient Empires, June 1, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Kara Koh, Winemaking
Koh is assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and has been with the winery for more than 20 years, working in most aspects of the business. Koh regularly shares her knowledge and experience at tastings and wine-pairing meals.

Koningsdam, 13-Day Mediterranean Legends, June 24, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Brett Scallan, Senior Vice President, Marketing
Scallan joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in September 2000 as Director of Marketing for Columbia Crest Winery. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president of domestic brands and vice president group brand director, with responsibilities including innovation.

Koningsdam, 12-Day Mediterranean Legends, July 29, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Thom Horsey, Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Horsey is responsible for a variety of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of wines. Horsey is a 35-year veteran of the wine industry and has conducted more than 2,000 seminars on all aspects of wine.

Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Premiere Voyage, Dec. 5, 2018, Transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale
Lacey Steffey, Winemaking
Steffey is the assistant traveling winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and works with partner facilities in Washington to ensure quality with daily tastings and assesses grape maturity.

Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Sagas, May 5, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Linda Chauncey, Director of Education
With more than 30 years' experience in the wine and culinary industry, Chauncey oversees Chateau Ste. Michelle's new Visitor Center and corporate education program, and creates a wide array of winetasting experiences for the more than 300,000 guests who visit the winery each year.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 61.4 + 3.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.46 + 4.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.04 - 3.70%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.56 + 4.65%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the cruise ship that was was overtaken by terrorists in 1985? One passenger was killed in the incident. Also, what was her original name?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - The ships were Michelagelo & Raffaello which sailed for Italia Navigazione
courtesy of venicedevil@hotmail.com


Cruise News - November 19, 2018

Carnival Cruise Line Marks Start Of Construction Of Its Newest And Largest Ship
Carnival Cruise Line reaffirmed its place as the leader of innovation in the U.S. cruise industry today as the first steel was cut for the line's newest class of ship and the new livery was revealed for the 180,000-ton XL vessel that will be the first-ever ship operating in North America to use liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The traditional steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, signified the official start of construction of the largest Carnival cruise ship ever constructed, to be delivered in 2020. A second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line's founding.

At the ceremony, the company also revealed a dramatic new red, white and blue hull design that celebrates its legacy as America's Cruise Line and pays homage to maritime tradition. Developed by New York-based Bluarch Architecture, the design builds upon the company's iconic color scheme that has made Carnival one of the most recognizable brands in travel and is highlighted by a stately navy blue hull inspired by officers' uniforms along with vibrant red and white accents running the entire length of the 1,130-foot-long ship.

"This new ship promises to be truly special, from its groundbreaking technology and one-of-a-kind features to its distinctive livery and hull design that is both timeless and forward-thinking while paying tribute to our nearly 50-year history of making wonderful vacation memories for our guests," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Following the steel-cutting ceremony, construction began on the 5,200-plus lower berth ship which will offer a variety of never-before-seen innovations and will be the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by LNG, part of Carnival Corporation's "green cruising" design platform.

"The start of construction of this amazing ship is a historic day for our company as we are laying the foundation for an unparalleled seagoing vacation experience that will be like no other and take our cruise offerings to the next level," Duffy said.

"We are extremely pleased to work together with Carnival on this large and highly innovative ship. With the first steel cutting, our efforts in designing the hull, features and interior of the ship start to take shape. We are also very proud to build the first-ever LNG powered cruise ship for North American market, making this state-of-the-art green technology a reality," commented Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

As previously announced, the as-yet-unnamed ship will operate from Port Canaveral, Fla., beginning in 2020. The ship's name is scheduled to be revealed in early December. Details on the ship's inaugural season are planned to be announced in January, with information on the vessel's vast array of exciting culinary, beverage and entertainment options to be revealed later in 2019.

Celebrity Edge Arrives At Her New Home Port
Celebrity Edge has officially arrived at her new home – Port Everglades' Terminal 25 (T25) in Hollywood, Fla. – following the ship's first-ever, 15-day transatlantic crossing.

Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Richard D. Fain, said: "The arrival of Celebrity Edge today book-ends a major chapter in the growth of Celebrity Cruises. It's the culmination of years of dreaming, designing and dedication to bring this magnificent ship to life. A new era is truly upon us."

Viewing this momentous occasion from the bridge of Celebrity Edge with Fain, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, added: "The completion of her first-ever transatlantic crossing and arrival at T25 marks such a historic moment for Celebrity Cruises. This has been more than four years in the making. The collaboration and effort between teams across the world all comes together in this incredible moment. I can think of no better place to be than with Captain Costas and the crew of Celebrity Edge knowing that we are sailing into the future, literally and figuratively, with this beautiful ship."

Adorning the decks as Celebrity Edge entered the channel for the first time, more than 1,400 excited crew members waved to a sea of shoreside colleagues who gathered to welcome the ship and her crew to their new home at an exclusive welcome event hosted at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center — a fitting debut for Celebrity's first new ship in six years and the first of a new class in more than a decade.

After the arrival of Celebrity Edge at T25, Lutoff-Perlo and Fain then hosted a grand opening ceremony in the revolutionary new terminal. Attended by key brand executives and esteemed Broward County and City of Hollywood officials, the dramatic ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official grand opening of the first terminal designed exclusively for the Celebrity brand, dubbed the new home of modern luxury.

Brought to life in collaboration with Broward County's Port Everglades, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. and Moss Construction, T25 melds a stunning, warmly inviting design with unique technology, such as Expedited Arrival, which will make the check-in process absolutely seamless, as well as an interactive light wall art installation. T25 will also offer The Retreat guests a singular experience along the path to The Retreat, with an exclusive lounge, elevator lobbies, screening areas and even a private rooftop terrace.

Celebrity Edge embarked on the more-than 4,000-mile transatlantic voyage from the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on November 4, 2018, with more than 1,400 crew members on board. Along the way, the cutting-edge new ship visited ports in both Azores, Portugal, and Freeport, Bahamas.

Celebrity Edge begins her inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.

Hurtigruten Announces Plans To Power Fleet With Dead Fish
Rotten fish as a ship's fuel? Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten says yes. With a growing fleet of 17 ships, Hurtigruten has invested heavily in green technology such as battery solutions and it now plans to fuel cruise ships with liquefied biogas (LBG) – fossil-free, renewable gas produced from dead fish and other organic waste.

"What other see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution," says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam. "By introducing biogas as fuel for cruise ships, Hurtigruten will be the first cruise company to power ships with fossil-free fuel."

Renewable biogas is a clean source of energy that is already used as fuel in small parts of the transportation sector, especially in buses. Northern Europe and Norway, with large fishery and forestry sectors that produce a steady volume of organic waste, have a unique opportunity to become world leader in biogas production.

By 2021, Hurtigruten plans to operate at least six of its ships on a combination of biogas, LNG and large battery packs.

"While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, our ships will literally be powered by nature," says Skjeldam. "Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping, and will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow."

After celebrating its 125-year anniversary by being the first cruise line to ban single-use plastic, 2019 will mark two green milestones for Hurtigruten:

Introduction of the world's first battery-hybrid powered cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, custom built for sustainable operations in some of the world's most pristine waters such as Antarctica.

The start of a large-scale green upgrade project, replacing traditional diesel propulsion with battery packs and gas engines on several Hurtigruten ships.

In addition to liquified natural gas (LNG), these ships will also be the first cruise ships in the world to run on liquified biogas (LBG).

Hurtigruten is currently building three hybrid powered expedition cruise ships at Norway's Kleven Shipyard. MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and a third, unnamed, sister will be delivered in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Norwegian Bliss Arriving to Miami for Winter Season
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest ship, Norwegian Bliss, makes her way to Miami to offer Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning Nov.17, 2018.

She will offer seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean with calls to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas through Mar. 30, 2019. In April, she’ll cross the Panama Canal, returning to Los Angeles for select sailings to the Mexican Riviera before moving to Seattle to meet her sister ship, Norwegian Joy, who will make her U.S. debut on Apr. 25, 2019.

“Norwegian Bliss’s inaugural season surpassed anything we could have imagined, with guests and travel partners alike championing her innovation and beauty,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Miami has long been home to Norwegian Cruise Line, and we are especially excited to bring Norwegian Bliss, our latest ship, and one of our most innovative vessels, to the East Coast for a winter of Caribbean cruising.”

Following a record-setting inaugural season of Alaska cruises from Seattle and a month-long period of voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss continues to break records from port-to-port. She is the largest ship to be christened in Seattle, homeport in Los Angeles and call to Vancouver and San Francisco. Norwegian Bliss is also the largest cruise ship to traverse the Panama Canal from both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Cunard Announces New Partnership with the English National Ballet
Luxury cruise line Cunard is proud to announce an new partnership with the prestigious English National Ballet for the first-ever "Dance the Atlantic" Transatlantic Crossing on board flagship Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to New York, August 11-18, 2019 (M924).

Guests on the seven-night Crossing will have the opportunity to meet six lead dancers from the British ballet company, including Lead Principal Erina Takahashi and First Soloist James Streeter. Guests will also have the unique opportunity to watch the dancers' morning ballet class and drop-in on afternoon rehearsals. A highlight of the voyage will be spectacular performances in the ship's Royal Court Theater, including extracts from the enthralling all-time classic Swan Lake, the poignant contemporary work Dust and the stunningly visual Le Corsaire - demonstrating the huge breadth of the company's repertoire.

"We are so excited to have the English National Ballet onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in 2019," said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. "For the first time ever, guests will be able to interact with the English National Ballet on the ocean with world-class performances and intimate experiences that will only further enhance the elegance and romance of the Cunard Transatlantic Crossing."

In another first, dance workshops will run daily throughout the week at sea, offering a special opportunity for guests to learn directly from English National Ballet associates. There will also be Insights talks, offering a fascinating understanding of the dedication and exhilaration of the dancer's life, along with dance-themed films and documentaries shown throughout the voyage.

"English National Ballet is thrilled to be partnering with Cunard on this exciting voyage," said Patrick Harrison, executive director of the English National Ballet. "Guests will get to experience the joy of ballet including performances and glimpses of behind-the-scenes. We're very much looking forward to sharing our art form with the guests on board Queen Mary 2."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 59.05 + 2.22%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.02 + 2.25%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.08 - 2.70%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 49.72 + 1.44%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous former liner served as James Bond's headquarters in the film "The Man with the Golden Gun"?

Answer - The answer to this weeks question is the Queen Elizabeth I which was lying in Hong Kong harbor at the time when it caught fire and sank but was partially visable above the surface.
courtesy of David E. Justice


Cruise News - November 12, 2018

Celebrity Edge Embarks On 4,000-Mile Journey To Her New Home
All eyes are on Celebrity Edge as she makes her way to the new home of modern luxury, Terminal 25 (T25), located at Port Everglades in Hollywood, Fla. Slated for arrival on Monday, November 19, 2018, the groundbreaking new ship set sail from the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, on Sunday, November 4, 2018, for her first transatlantic voyage.

As of the morning of November 6, 2018, Celebrity Edge was 3,300 nautical miles from her destination, positioned at 37 degrees 58 minutes north latitude and 17 degrees 9 minutes west longitude. On board, more than 1,400 excited crew members and many others are passionately at work putting the finishing touches on this magnificent ship, making sure that every detail is absolutely perfect, every surface sparkles, and every routine is mastered – before a single guest ever steps aboard.

Celebrity Edge's inaugural season will be spent sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas Makes U.S. Debut
Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas, the new sound of adventure, made her highly anticipated debut to the cruise capital of the world today, forever changing the status quo on vacations for adventure-seekers everywhere. Fresh from her inaugural Europe season, the world’s largest cruise ship sailed into her permanent, year-round home at Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A at PortMiami, the largest cruise terminal in the U.S.

“Symphony takes family vacationing to a whole new level with energy and options never before found in one place. This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant, new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment – all purposefully designed around vacationers’ preferences.” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “With her U.S. homecoming this week, Symphony is changing the game for how travelers of all ages vacation on our biggest and boldest adventure yet.”

The ultimate family vacation, Symphony of the Seas will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami beginning Saturday, Nov. 17, and will add visits to the cruise line’s new private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, opening May 2019. Featured in TIME magazine’s first annual “World’s Greatest Places” list (Sept. 2018), Symphony features a next-level collection of new experiences including:

• The two-story Ultimate Family Suite for eight guests includes an in-suite slide, air hockey table, building block wall and “Royal Genie” concierge

• The high-energy Boardwalk, with activities for the whole family, offers gameday favorites at Playmaker’s Sports Bar & Arcade, the Sugar Beach specialty candy and ice cream shop, face painting, caricature artists, live music and more

• New restaurants, including Hooked Seafood with fresh, New England-style favorites, and made-to-order Mexican “street fare” at El Loco Fresh

• A glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure called Battle for Planet Z

• An always-evolving Royal Caribbean app, designed to be a gamechanger for the guest experience, enables expedited arrival, more personalization and interactive onboard features

Symphony of the Seas also features a playlist of the greatest hits that Royal Caribbean guests know and love from the iconic Oasis Class ships:

• The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, a 10-story test of courage

• The Perfect Storm, a trio of thrilling multistory waterslides named Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell

• Two FlowRider surf simulators, where adventurers can hang ten

• Twin rock-climbing walls, standing at 40 feet tall and boasting stunning sea views

• A zip line nine decks high, speeding riders 82 feet across an open-air atrium

• AquaTheater, an open-air theater with jaw-dropping, high-diving acrobatic and aquatic performances set at the deepest pool at sea

• Central Park, a green sanctuary lush with more than 20,000 living plants and trees.

The official naming ceremony for Symphony of the Seas will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15, hosted by the industry’s first-ever Godfamily – actors and avid Royal Caribbean fans Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, along with their toddler son Ocean.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas encompasses 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet in length. Each week, Symphony will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or the ship’s signature Boardwalk neighborhood.

Carnival Radiance's 2020 Inaugural Season To Include Voyages To Europe, Bermuda, Canada/New England And Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Line today announced the diverse inaugural schedule for the totally transformed Carnival Radiance, including 9- to 13-day European voyages, the line's first to Cuba from New York and Norfolk, four- to nine-day sailings to the Caribbean, Canada/New England from New York, and a winter season of voyages to the Caribbean and Cuba from Port Canaveral, Fla.

Additionally, the company revealed details of Carnival Sunrise's 2020 schedule, including an expanded series of New York to Cuba cruises, as well as four- to nine-day voyages to the Caribbean from New York and Norfolk, Va.

Following a $200 million dry dock that will take place in Cadiz, Spain, Carnival Radiance will debut April 29, 2020, with a 10-day Mediterranean sailing from Barcelona followed by nine-and 12-day departures visiting top destinations throughout the region, including Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain. The ship will then embark on a 13-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York June 11-24, 2020, positioning the vessel for its inaugural season in the Big Apple.

Once in New York, Carnival Radiance will offer a series of four- and six-day Bermuda cruises as well as a four-day cruise to Saint John, New Brunswick,eight-day eastern Caribbean voyages and the line's first Cuba cruises from New York - nine-day sailings that include a full-day and overnight stay in Havana and two Bahamian ports of call. The New York program will conclude with a series of Canada/New England voyages featuring stops in Boston, Portland, Saint John, and Halifax.

The ship will also offer four five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk in October and November 2020, including the line's first Cuba cruises from that port. The week-long Cuba cruises will feature an extended stop in the capital of Havana along with visits to two tropical Bahamian ports. There will also be a five-day Bahamas cruise and a six-day cruise visiting three of the country's most popular destinations, including the private island of Half Moon Cay.

Following the cruises from the Northeast, Carnival Radiance will reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., to operate a winter schedule of six- to eight-day voyages to the Caribbean and Cuba beginning Nov. 8, 2020. The program includes six-day voyages featuring a day-long visit and overnight call in Havana and two Bahamian ports; a six-day sailing to Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and Nassau, The Bahamas; and seven-and eight-day Caribbean voyages visiting some of the region's most popular and beautiful islands, including Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts and Grand Turk.

Building upon the popularity of short Bermuda cruises introduced on Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise will offer a series of "long weekend" getaways to Bermuda as well as longer length Caribbean voyages and cruises to Cuba from the Big Apple beginning May 21, 2020.

The program includes eight, nine-day voyages to Cuba featuring a full day and overnight call in Havana along with stops at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau. Eight, four-day "long weekend" voyages to Bermuda will also be offered, departing Thursdays and returning Mondays and spending a full day on the island. Seven, eight-day voyages visiting beautiful ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas will be offered as well. The program concludes with a 12-day Carnival Journeys partial Panama Canal transit from New York to Fort Lauderdale Oct. 19-31, 2020.

Carnival Sunrise will also sail from Norfolk, Va., in May 2020, offering a pair of five-day cruises to Nassau and Freeport, along with a three-port, six-day voyage featuring Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Freeport.

Carnival Sunrise and Carnival Radiance will each undergo extensive dry docks in 2019 and 2020, respectively, that will add an array of exciting food, beverage and entertainment choices. New culinary and beverage offerings will include Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse developed by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, a classic American steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555, and the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub. Carnival Radiance will also feature Big Chicken, a seagoing version of a landside restaurant operated by the line's Chief Fun Officer, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

Holland America Line Debuts New Club Orange Program With Exclusive Benefits and Premium Amenities
Holland America Line is introducing the unique Club Orange program that provides exclusive benefits and amenities to guests looking to elevate their cruise experience. From a private dining venue to priority services and a dedicated concierge hotline, Club Orange allows guests to opt in to extra privileges that are available to a limited number of guests on each cruise.

Club Orange will be included for guests in Neptune and Pinnacle Suite categories, and the program will be available to purchase for a small number of non-suite staterooms on each sailing. The program is slated to launch on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam in December 2018, with a rollout to the rest of the fleet in 2019.

"Club Orange allows guests to add extra premium benefits and luxury amenities to their cruise for a great value," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "One of the reasons people choose Holland America Line is because of the quality of what we offer — the best food at sea, the most authentic live entertainment and our award-winning service — and Club Orange is another way for guests to enhance their cruise experience."

The name Club Orange pays homage to Holland America Line's rich Dutch heritage. The company was founded in the Netherlands more than 145 years ago and it's the color of the Dutch Royal Family, which hails from the House of Orange.

Aboard Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, the Culinary Arts Center dining venue is being transformed into an exclusive Club Orange restaurant that will be open every day for breakfast and dinner. The complimentary venue will serve the same menu featured in Pinnacle Grill (breakfast) and the Dining Room (dinner) and also include additional daily dishes exclusive to the Club Orange restaurant. When Club Orange is introduced on other ships of the fleet in 2019, a dedicated section of the Dining Room will be set-aside for the exclusive use of Club Orange guests for breakfast and dinner. Reservations in the private dining venue are not required but welcome.

Amenities that come with the exclusive Club Orange program include priority check-in and disembarkation, priority tender service and priority alternative restaurant reservations made on board. Club Orange guests also have a dedicated line at Guest Services and the EXC Tours shore excursion desk, as well as a dedicated concierge hotline on board for dining reservations, shore excursion assistance, general questions and support. Additional benefits to Club Orange include an enhanced in-stateroom à la carte breakfast dining menu with complimentary premium selections such as steak and eggs or smoked salmon Benedict, a welcome glass of sparkling wine at dinner on embarkation day, premium bathrobe for use in stateroom (and available for purchase and monogramming), and an exclusive Club Orange tote bag.

The cost of Club Orange is $50 per person per day, and the first and second guest in the same stateroom are both required to purchase the program. Club Orange is included for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom. Club Orange must be purchased prior to cruise departure and is not available for purchase on board.

Norwegian Jewel Will Arrive to Sydney After Bow-To-Stern Renovation
Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in cruising, today announced the completion of the refurbishment of Norwegian Jewel as part of The Norwegian Edge program, reaffirming the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across the fleet.

ollowing a two-week dry dock in Singapore for the company’s most extensive enhancement project in 2018, Norwegian Jewel will debut in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, Dec. 1, showcasing refreshed venues, updated spaces, premiere entertainment and redesigned staterooms.

Offering seven to 19-day itineraries to some of the region’s most exotic destinations, she’ll spend her winter 2018 and spring 2019 seasons cruising from Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore, before joining Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy in Alaska for the summer.

“Norwegian Jewel’s complete renovation showcases our dedication to providing guests with quality experiences across the fleet and around the world,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Not only are we revealing updated designs and accommodations throughout the ship, but guests will also enjoy new venues and three incredibly exciting shows, one of which premieres for the first time on Norwegian Jewel.”

Norwegian Jewel will feature three new shows – “Rock You Tonight,” and ship exclusives “Le Cirque Bijou” and “Velvet,” illustrating the company’s commitment to providing high-caliber entertainment. The Australian hit musical “Velvet" makes its debut at sea with disco classics, a stellar combination of circus acrobatics, cabaret and burlesque elements, and features the talented Brenda Edwards of “X Factor UK” as the lead, with “The Voice” finalist, Frenchie Davis to follow.

“Le Cirque Bijou,” only showing on Norwegian Jewel, provides a mesmerizing journey of artistic and high-flying acrobatic performances, while “Rock You Tonight” showcases a medley of songs from the best bands of the 70s, including Queen, Journey and The Who.

Nearly all dining, bar and lounge offerings on Norwegian Jewel were updated, and two new venues were opened – The Pit Stop and Bliss Ultra Lounge, replacing the Sky High Bar and FYZZ Cabaret Lounge.

Drawing inspiration from the 1950’s, The Pit Stop is an all-American bar retrofitted with vintage license plates, gas station signage and other classic car elements of the era. Bliss Ultra Lounge offers late-night entertainment in a modern and upscale setting, with more intimate seating options now available.

All 1,188 staterooms were upgraded with new televisions and USB outlets, as well as new carpet, artwork and furniture. The Haven by Norwegian received updates to the courtyard, additional cabanas on the sun deck and new finishes, carpets, tiles, drapes, artwork and furniture for all suites and villas. The ship also boasts two new Haven Deluxe Owner’s Suites, at nearly 1,200 square feet and featuring large, 567-square-foot balconies, two private jacuzzies and accommodates up to four guests.

As the heart of the ship, the Atrium has been revitalized with an entirely refreshed look centered around a custom-design chandelier and includes updated flooring, refurbished reception and shore excursion desk areas, the addition of relaxed banquette seating and a large TV screen.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils The First-Ever Glamping Experience At Sea
The first ship ever designed exclusively for the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Flora, just introduced another enticing industry first: A once-in-a-lifetime camping experience on the top deck of the luxury yacht that allows guests to dine, drink, and, yes, even sleep under one of the most spectacular night skies in the world.

"Celebrity Flora was specifically designed to bring our guests closer to the Galapagos Islands than ever before – from its outward-facing design that takes guests to the water's edge, to the enhanced custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "And now our new Galapagos Glamping experience gives guests an incredible opportunity to experience the destination the ship was built for, on a whole new level, under the millions of stars above."

Four star-struck guests per night will be able to book the top deck onboard experience and participate in this one-night-only adventure. The reservations include two luxuriously inviting cabanas, one fitted with a double bed for sleeping, and the other for enjoying a mouthwatering, alfresco meal. Galapagos Glamping was created to break down the walls and bring guests closer than ever to this stunning destination. To help guests fully appreciate the breathtaking views this experience offers, a naturalist will also be available to highlight the stars and constellations visible from this region of the world directly from the cabana seats.

Exclusive campfire-inspired culinary delights – from cocktails to carefully selected wines to s'mores – will be specially curated for the evening, while guests gaze at the endless open skies above. Guests will have a delicious dinner served exclusively as part of the Galapagos Glamping experience. Campers will also welcome the spectacular sunrise with a full bed-side breakfast.

Modern luxury exploration in the Galapagos Islands will never be the same once Celebrity Flora begins her inaugural season, sailing alternating 10- and 11-night tours, there is also the option for guests to select a 16-night itinerary— an inner loop and outer loop — to the region's most stunning locales in 2019 and 2020.

Based in Baltra Island in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora will make her debut sailing on May 26, 2019.

Princess Cruises Announces 2020 Deployment to Canada & New England
The 2020 Canada & New England cruise season offered by Princess Cruises showcases the fall foliage to iconic destinations along the east coast and even offers a trip to see the frozen landscapes of Greenland. Two ships sail the region – the debut of Sky Princess, joined by OceanMedallion-enabled Caribbean Princess – and cruises go on sale Nov. 8, 2018.

The 2020 Canada & New England season features 16 departures, visiting 16 destinations on five itineraries, ranging in length from five to 16 days. The season also include select sailings in the summer. Program highlights include:

• New for 2020! Caribbean Princess visits the frozen landscape of far-flung Greenland, to discover more of the world. This 16-day voyage roundtrip from New York travels to one of the world's largest island, visiting this least populated territory, including the capital and country's largest city, Nuuk, as well as Nanortalik and Qaqortoq. The cruise also makes stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sydney (Cape Breton Island) and St. John's, Newfoundland.

• Caribbean Princess offers 10-day Classic Canada & New England voyages out of Québec City and New York featuring overnight stays in Québec on every voyage. Ports stops visited include the seaside communities like Newport, Boston, Portland, Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick, Halifax, Sydney (Cape Breton Island), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Saguenay and Québec.

• In addition, Caribbean Princess offers a 13-day Canada & Colonial America cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Québec (or vice versa) featuring calls in Sydney (Cape Breton Island), Halifax, Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy), Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Boston, Newport, Rhode Island, New York and Charleston (northbound) or Norfolk (southbound).

• Sky Princess sails on her maiden Canada and New England season with seven-day cruises roundtrip from New York, visiting Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Bar Harbor (for Acadia National Park), Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax.

• A five-day Canadian Atlantic Provinces Getaway out of New York is also being offered aboard Sky Princess, visiting Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax.

Princess Cruises guests will immerse themselves in scenic destinations with in-depth excursions for every interest as only Princess offers one-of-a-kind Discovery and Animal Planet tours. Excursions range from yacht racing and wine tasting to exploring lighthouses and seeing world-famous Fenway Park. These cruise experiences also offer access to four UNESCO World Heritage Sits. Additionally, Princess Cruises offers More Ashore ports calls (9 pm or later departures) to discover more during the day and sample the night-life in Québec City and Boston during every 10-day Classic Canada & New England itinerary

Plus, once guests return to their cruise ship, regional flavors are drawn from these destinations with locally-inspired dishes such as New England Crab, plus craft cocktails like the Boston Cream Pie Martini.

The first Princess Cruises ship with all-guest OceanMedallion activation, Caribbean Princess delivers enhanced experiences through the OceanMedallion, wearable device. Guests use their OceanMedallion to discover how a personalized vacation can elevate their experience to a higher level by removing friction points, delivering enhanced levels of personalization and guest service all the while staying connected with land-like internet streaming speeds.

MedallionClass vacations offer guests an extensive portfolio of OceanMedallion-enabled features specifically designed to enhance the vacation experience. Highlights include:

• Keyless Stateroom Access: Stateroom entry is a seamless experience where each guest is securely validated and the door automatically unlocks, with personalized greetings launching soon.

• OceanNowTM: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to place a food or drink order and have it delivered directly to them in food and beverage locations throughout the ship.

• OceanCompass featuring OceanNav and ShipMates: On select portals guests can use OceanNav for point-to-point wayfinding throughout the ship via an intelligent navigation assistant, and utilize ShipMates to easily locate friends, family and kids.

• MedallionNet: Wi-Fi connectivity that is fast, reliable, unlimited and affordable. Guests on MedallionClass ships experience land-like connectivity for streaming sports, movies, music and videos, communicating on video phone calls from anywhere on the ship, and sharing their vacation experiences in real time with friends and family back home on social media platforms.

To further enhance guests' cruise vacations, Princess Cruises is pleased to offer a choice of two options on the East Coast to see the sites of colonial America or Niagara Falls and the best of Eastern Canada:

• Historic America Cruisetour takes guests to such important places as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Gettysburg Battlefield.

• The Maple Explorer Cruisetour brings guests to beautiful Niagara Falls; exciting cities like the capital of Ottawa and French-flavored Montreal with guided tours of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, dazzling cathedrals and the historic 19th century Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will also be treated to a lovely cruise through the picturesque Thousand Islands.

Shaquille O'Neal To Open First 'Big Chicken' Restaurant At Sea Aboard Carnival Radiance
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the totally transformed Carnival Radiance will be the first cruise ship to feature "Big Chicken," a seagoing version of a new restaurant created by the line's Chief Fun Officer, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

The menu will feature a mouth-watering variety of fried chicken sandwiches and fries, with flavors to match Shaq's larger than life personality, all free of charge.

O'Neal opened his first land-based Big Chicken restaurant in Las Vegas in late October. The seagoing adaptation Big Chicken aboard Carnival Radiance will be among the many food, dining and entertainment innovations incorporated into the 102,000-ton ship following a $200 million refurbishment in Cadiz, Spain, in 2020.

"Shaq has brought so much to our brand as Chief Fun Officer and we are always looking for ways to expand on this wonderful relationship and provide our guests with new ways to Choose Fun," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Knowing his passion for food and fun, we're thrilled to work with Shaq to bring the first Big Chicken at sea aboard the totally transformed Carnival Radiance."

"As Chief Fun Officer, I want to bring even more fun to every aspect of a Carnival cruise, including what guests eat," said O'Neal. "Big Chicken has been a dream of mine and now that our land-based restaurant is open, it's only natural to bring it to sea, as well. I'm really excited that Carnival Radiance guests will be able to enjoy my own delicious creations alongside all the other great food offerings on board."

Located aft on Lido Deck, Big Chicken will tantalize vacationers' taste buds with a delectable array of fried chicken favorites, all developed and taste-tested by the NBA Hall of Famer himself based on his own recipes.

A variety of fried chicken sandwiches will be featured, with playful monikers inspired by Shaq's litany of clever nicknames for himself, along with his own take on traditional sides.

Breakfast will be offered as well with choices like chicken and egg biscuits that serve as the perfect morning accompaniment. Service is a breeze, with patrons placing their order at the counter and picking up their items right away – no waiting and best of all, it's free.

Big Chicken is among the many new culinary and beverage offerings that will be available on Carnival Radiance when it debuts in 2020. Other outlets include Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse developed by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, a classic American steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub.

An expansive new WaterWorks aqua park featuring the new AquaTunnel slide as well as a SportSquare open-air recreation complex with a suspended ropes course will be added, as well. All of the ship's staterooms will be renovated with a tropical color palette and striking new décor.

Itinerary and homeport details for Carnival Radiance will be announced shortly.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 57.77 + 1.60%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 104.67 - 1.09%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.11 - 0.89%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.57 + 5.38%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous former liner served as James Bond's headquarters in the film "The Man with the Golden Gun"?

Answer - The answer to this weeks question is the Queen Elizabeth I which was lying in Hong Kong harbor at the time when it caught fire and sank but was partially visable above the surface.
courtesy of David E. Justice


Cruise News - November 5, 2018

Celebrity Cruises Takes Delivery Of Celebrity Edge
Following more than four years of planning and 23 months of construction at the skilled hands of thousands of engineers, architects, artisans, designers, contractors, shipyard employees, and the newbuild and Celebrity Cruises teams, today the brand officially took delivery of Celebrity Edge, representing a truly historic occasion for Celebrity and the industry.

As part of the monumental moment, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Celebrity's President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo hosted a ceremony aboard Celebrity Edge, while docked in the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The Celebrity Executive Team were also in attendance along with shipyard officials, including General Manager Laurent Castaing, and 1,377 crew members from 72 different countries.

"The Celebrity team has done an outstanding job and I cannot thank the Chantiers de l'Atlantique team enough for delivering this game-changing ship and for their ongoing partnership," said Fain. "Their work continues to transform the way our guests experience the world."

"Today is a very special day for all of us as we have been eagerly anticipating this moment for more than four years," said Lutoff-Perlo. "There are so many aspects of Celebrity Edge that are more groundbreaking than we could have ever imagined, and it is all a testament to the hard work, creativity and talent of everyone who helped bring this magnificent ship to life."

"Thanks to the confidence Celebrity Cruises granted us and to the exceptional level of cooperation between our respective teams, we are proud to have designed and built one of the most innovative cruise ships ever," added Castaing. "This achievement demonstrates once again our capacity to deliver right on time ships of the highest quality to our most demanding customers."

Following the Celebrity Edge check-signing and delivery ceremony, attendees made their way across the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard for the ceremonial keel laying of Celebrity Apex, where a 762-ton block was lifted in the air and a lucky coin was placed on the dock before the block was lowered into position.

On November 6, 2018, Celebrity Edge will begin her transatlantic voyage to her home port at T25 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her inaugural season will be spent sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.

Princess Cruises Unveils Features and Itinerary for Enchanted Princess
Princess Cruises has announced that when its next new ship, Enchanted Princess, debuts in June 2020, it will be named in Southampton, UK and sail its inaugural season in the Mediterranean. Princess has also unveiled new details revealing innovative features on board the ship.

As previously announced for its sister ship Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess will also feature the new Sky Suites, centrally located on the top deck of the ship and featuring the largest private balconies ever offered by Princess Cruises. Measuring 700 square feet, the balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship's Movies under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer a 270-degree panorama and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more for entertaining - making them ideal for families.

Debuting in the Mediterranean in June 2020, the 143,700-ton Enchanted Princess will include the best of the stunning new features found on Sky Princess including a Wakeview pool on its aft decks and relaxing Sanctuary area offering a new contemporary design with more private cabanas than ever before. In addition Enchanted Princess will offer standout features from its three other sister ships - Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – including an Italian-inspired Piazza, dramatic over-the-ocean glass, Seawalk and Broadway-caliber shows performed in the Princess Theater.

Some exciting new offerings that represent another evolution of the current ships' designs on Enchanted Princess will be a reimagined Salty Dog Gastropub. The rustic pub space will be an exciting new venue where guests can watch sporting events, gather with friends over drinks and small bites, and partake in the award-winning Ernesto Burger, created by chef partner, Ernesto Uchimura, a founding chef of the original Umami Burger and owner of the new Los Angeles based neighborhood restaurant and bar, Electric Owl.

Sabatini's Italian Trattoria, Princess Cruises acclaimed specialty restaurant, will also be transformed. The space will blend classic Italian accents with the spaciousness of a modern, contemporary setting featuring unique handmade pasta courses developed in collaboration with Los Angeles chef Angelo Auriana that will be prepared fresh daily.

The Princess Live! and Café will have a new art deco-style décor where guests can enjoy their favorite drinks and small bites while watching live performances or enjoying an intimate gathering.

"With our new Sky Suites and enhanced dining and relaxation features on Enchanted Princess, we are continuing our commitment to offer new and expansive passenger spaces that meet the needs of our guests who wish to explore the world and connect with each other," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

Carnival Corporation Launches Cruise Joint Venture in China
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced that its cruise joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) will launch this week under the name CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited. The new China-based cruise company plans to operate its own fleet to serve Chinese cruise guests by the end of 2019.

As part of today's news, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited announced an agreement to purchase two existing ships from Carnival Corporation's Costa Group, the leading cruise operator in Europe and Asia. The first of these ships, the 85,861-ton, 2,210-passenger Costa Atlantica, is scheduled to be transferred to the new Chinese cruise line by the end of 2019. Costa Atlantica's sister ship, the 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred at a date still to be announced. vAdditionally, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited announced it has signed a contract to finalize its previously announced agreement to order two new cruise ships that will be built in China and serve the Chinese cruise market. The two new cruise ships will be constructed by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (SWS), a leading Chinese-owned shipyard in Shanghai, with the first ship expected to be delivered in 2023. The agreement also gives CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited the option to order four additional China-built cruise ships to serve growing demand from Chinese consumers.

CSSC, China's largest shipbuilder, and leading global shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. have established a separate joint venture to grant a technology license of the ship model platform and to provide technical and project service support to SWS throughout the shipbuilding process. The two new ships will be built with a design tailored for the new joint venture and the specific tastes of Chinese travelers. As the largest cruise company in the world with over 100 ships in its fleet and 22 ships on order through 2025, Carnival Corporation will utilize its deep industry expertise to provide onsite supervision and support during ship construction.

"The official launch of our cruise joint venture in China is a significant milestone in the strategic development of a strong and sustainable cruise industry in China," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "Together with our partners, we are excited about our ability to launch a new cruise line in China based on existing ships and new China-built cruise ships tailored for Chinese travelers."

"The new cruise joint venture complements our existing presence in the market and strengthens our commitment to help China build a holistic ecosystem and become a leading global cruise market," added Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia. "We look forward to working with CSSC to further increase demand for cruising by generating broad awareness of why going on a cruise is an extraordinary holiday and exceptional value."

"It is a strategic decision for CSSC to enter into the cruise industry in partnership with Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri," said Lei Fanpei, chairman of CSSC. "Through the partnership with leading international enterprises, we will build a whole industrial chain including the cruise ship design and building, operations and supply chain, jointly promote industrial environment improvements and create an ecosystem that will nurture the sustainable growth of the cruise industry. Our cooperation continues to receive great support from the Chinese government at both the central and local levels. We wish to continue our win-win partnership from today on, to ensure the delivery of the first large cruise ship to be built in China by 2023."

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "This achievement with our strategic partners at Carnival Corporation and CSSC represents the hard work, determination and vision of our teams to continue developing the cruise industry for the benefit of Chinese travelers and capitalize on the enormous potential of the market."

Bono added: "China represents a tremendous opportunity for the entire cruise industry, and we look forward to working together with our partners to leverage our collective expertise and leadership in the cruise sector to support China's goal of developing its cruise shipbuilding capabilities and becoming a leading global cruise market."

These agreements were signed on behalf of CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited by Costa Group's Michael Thamm and Yang Jincheng, president of CSSC, at a signing ceremony held today at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Also in attendance were Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and Chairman Lei Fanpei of CSSC, among other important representatives.

CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited – a joint venture partnership announced in 2015 with CSSC in which Carnival Corporation holds a minority interest – was formed with the goal to launch the first multi-ship cruise brand in China specifically designed to serve the Chinese cruise market.

CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited also supports China's larger efforts to prioritize cruise industry growth in its five-year economic development plan.

As previously announced in June 2018, Costa Group will also introduce two new cruise vessels specifically designed for the Chinese market – Costa Venezia in spring 2019 and its sister ship in fall 2020.

As the world's top outbound tourism market, China's 142 million outbound travelers spent an estimated $258 billion traveling abroad in 2017, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). By comparison, the Chinese cruise industry served only about 2.5 million cruise passengers last year, representing less than two percent of China's outbound global travelers.

As a large, embryonic and underpenetrated cruise market with continued long-term projections for outbound tourism growth, China represents a significant opportunity for the cruise industry to raise awareness, consideration and demand for cruise vacations in coming years. As the industry continues to grow and develop in the region, China is widely expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.

Norwegian Breakaway Debuts in New Orleans as the Biggest Ship to Sail from the Big Easy
On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel, returns to New Orleans introducing Norwegian Breakaway to the Big Easy with five to 11-day cruises to the Caribbean.

At 1,068 feet and 145,655 gross register tons, the recently renovated Norwegian Breakaway is the largest cruise ship to homeport in the city of New Orleans, as well as the youngest in port this season. The namesake ship of the Breakaway class offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their dream vacation at sea with no assigned dining and entertainment times, 25 dining options, 22 bars and lounges, a comprehensive water park featuring the fastest waterslide at sea, one of the largest ropes courses of any ship and an entertainment program that mirrors the vibrancy of the Big Easy.

“We are excited to introduce Norwegian Breakaway to New Orleans, providing our guests with another premium destination to cruise from when sailing to the Caribbean,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “New Orleans is well known for its lively music, culinary scene and entertainment, a perfect complement to the high-caliber experiences guests will discover on Norwegian Breakaway.”

Following her renovation in May 2018, Norwegian Breakaway debuted refreshed staterooms and public areas and introduced a new bar and lounge concept to the fleet with Syd Norman’s Pour House. Modeled after influential rock houses such as CBGB’s, The Rainbow and The Fillmore, Syd Norman’s is a tribute to the grandfather of “Rock of Ages” playwright Chris D’Arenso and features vintage décor, diner-style seating, signature cocktails and an unforgettable playlist of classic rock from the late 1960s to 1980s. Additional entertainment options on board include the Tony Award-nominated Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, all of which attest to the company’s commitment to providing world-class entertainment at sea.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a valued cruise line partner and we are thrilled to welcome Norwegian Breakaway as the largest cruise ship ever to sail from Port NOLA,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans president and chief executive officer. “With our commitment to high-level service and the Crescent City’s vibrant energy, we look forward to offering Norwegian Cruise Line passengers a memorable cruise experience as they begin and end their vacations in our unique American city.”

Norwegian Breakaway will sail from New Orleans through April 12, 2019, offering five, seven, ten and eleven-day Western Caribbean cruises with calls to some of the top Caribbean destinations, including Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City and Harvest Caye, the company’s resort-style experience in Belize named the “Best New Cruise Port” by Porthole Cruise Magazine in 2017.

Princess Cruises Debuts Newest Ship for 2020 Europe Season
The Princess Cruises 2020 Europe season offers the very best of iconic destinations in this region, including visiting medieval castles, walking amongst ancient Greek & Roman ruins and sailing along breathtaking fjords in Norway and Iceland. A recognized leader in Europe, Princess Cruises 2020 voyages range from four to 33 days and includes the debut of the cruise line's newest ship, Enchanted Princess, sailing the Mediterranean. Cruises go on sale Nov. 8, 2018.

In total, five ships offering 67 itineraries to 120 European destinations, visiting 37 countries round out the 2020 Europe cruise season with voyages offered March through November.

Enchanted Princess, the fifth Royal-class ship in the cruise line's fleet, will be named in the UK and departs for her maiden season in the Mediterranean debuting in Rome on July 11, 2020, offering a variety of cruises ranging from seven to 22 days from Rome, Athens and Barcelona.

The 2020 Europe program also marks the return to the Holy Land, visiting Jerusalem, Galilee and more, with Island Princess joining the Europe fleet, visiting more off-the-beaten destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe including two opportunities to view the Northern Lights in the late fall. Crown Princess also sails these regions visiting Norway, Iceland and Greenland.

Northern Europe highlights include a pair of debuts: Sky Princess sails her first season on the 11-day Scandinavia & Russia itinerary from Copenhagen while Regal Princess is all new to the popular 12-day British Isles from Southampton. In total, three Royal-class ships will sail Europe in 2020.

"Our 2020 Europe lineup is epic with the debut of Enchanted Princess in the Mediterranean," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Some of my fondest travel memories are from my many cruises throughout Europe. I always see something new, learn from the locals and of course, delight in the regional cuisines. We have so many cruise options to enjoy the rich history and diverse cultures whether it's your first visit to Europe or your return."

Cultural immersion abounds with select sailings visiting an array of treasured UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Old City of Dubrovnik or the Acropolis in Athens. Guests will delight in award-winning Discovery, Animal Planet and Bon Appetit shore excursions. And Princess offers More Ashore late-night and overnight stays in 41 ports to maximize time exploring these famed cities.

Several Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises can be combined with a multi-night land tour to create a cruisetour with options to explore classic Italy, imperial Europe, the best of Spain and Ireland's Ring of Kerry.

Holland America Line Celebrates 30 Days Until Nieuw Statendam's Delivery with 30 Fun Facts About the New Ship
Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam will officially join the fleet in 30 days on Dec. 1, 2018. The countdown is on until the ship's delivery from Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, and Holland America Line celebrates the month-out milestone with 30 fun facts about the newest Pinnacle Class ship:
  1. Nieuw Statendam will visit more than 75 ports during her first year in service.
  2. Nieuw Statendam's stunning interiors were designed by internationally acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten, one of the world's leading architects working in the cruise industry.
  3. In its first year, Nieuw Statendam will sail 92,723 nautical miles, more than four times around the globe.
  4. The ship's dedication ceremony will be held at a private event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 2, 2019.
  5. Twelve Seattle-based businesses are key partners in the building, launch and operation of Nieuw Statendam, which is important to Holland America Line as Seattle's hometown cruise line.
  6. Artists from 150 different countries are represented in Nieuw Statendam's artwork.
  7. More than 150 bottles of red wine will be made each month at BLEND, the first purpose-built wine blending venue at sea.
  8. At 975 feet in length, Nieuw Statendam is a long as 12 blue whales.
  9. Captain Sybe de Boer has been master of Statendam, Zaandam, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Eurodam and served on Maasdam, Ryndam, Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Koningsdam.
  10. Two hundred pounds of pasta will be prepared at Canaletto during a seven-day cruise.
  11. It would take 7,067 standard bottles of Champagne to fill Nieuw Statendam's Lido Pool.
  12. On a weeklong voyage, 9,331 towel animals will be created.
  13. In the first year, 42,760 pounds of lobster will be served.
  14. There are 1,920 works of art on board.
  15. On a seven-day cruise, 4,200 cups of coffee will be served.
  16. The hull of Nieuw Statendam is made up of 720 individual blocks.
  17. In Lido Market on a weeklong cruise, 5,600 freshly made, personalized salads will be prepared at Wild Harvest.
  18. The ship's crew members represent 33 countries.
  19. On a seven-day cruise, more than 42,000 eggs will be used.
  20. More than 9,360 songs will be performed in Rolling Stone Rock Room during the first year.
  21. Guests will indulge in 11,440 massages during the first year.
  22. Pinnacle Grill will serve 600 pounds of Double R Ranch Beef during a seven-day cruise.
  23. Nearly 20,000 guests will attend a Digital Workshop powered by Windows class in the first year.
  24. During a seven-day cruise, 3,000 burgers will be served at Dive-In.
  25. Seventy performers will grace the stages of Music Walk during the first year.
  26. Eighteen different flavors of gelato will be made on board each cruise.
  27. In the first year, 260 live America's Test Kitchen shows will help our guests master their home kitchens.
  28. Grand Dutch Café will serve 1,250 beers on a seven-day cruise.
  29. New York Deli & Pizza will serve up 350 breakfast sandwiches on a weeklong cruise.
  30. Nieuw Statendam is a sister-ship to Koningsdam, which was delivered in April 2016. A third Pinnacle-class ship will be delivered in 2021.

Nieuw Statendam sets sail on its 14-day Premier Voyage from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dec. 5, 2018. The ship then spends a season in the Caribbean before returning to Europe for summer explorations to the Mediterranean and Norway.

The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line celebrates the company's past, present and future.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 56.86 + 5.16%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 105.82 + 6.33%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.12 - 3.45%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 46.09 + 8.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous former liner served as James Bond's headquarters in the film "The Man with the Golden Gun"?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which German four stacker painted her funnels in White Star colors in an attempt to avoid capture by the British as she sought safe harbor during the early days of World War I?

Answer - The German Liner was Komprinzessin Cecile.
courtesy of John Georgountzos

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
|  Home  |  About Us  |  Suggest-a-Site  |  Feedback  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy  | 
This page, and all contents, are © 1995-2006 by Interactive Travel Guides, Inc. and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.
TravelPage.com is a trademark of Interactive Travel Guides, Inc.
Powered by TravelServer Software